Selfish Yorkshire wedding scammer Dana Twidale who conned 26 victims out of £57,000 is jailed for five years

A selfish East Yorkshire wedding scammer who conned brides and grooms out of their hard-earned savings and ruined their dream day has been jailed for five years.

Dana Twidale, 44, of Newtown Court, Hull, stole £57,000 from 26 of her victims over a two-year campaign, targeting many at their most vulnerable, to feed her gambling habit, Hull Crown Court heard.

Twidale's deceit started in July 2018 when she met her first victim on the internet dating app Tinder. The man, who had recently lost his father, fell for her a story she had concocted about being a victim of domestic violence. In a bid to gain his trust, Twidale sent him pictures of her with a black eye and bruising to her face which she blamed her partner for. She later admitted she had used make-up to make it look as if she had been beaten. She also claimed her mother had died and she needed money for her funeral, stating he would get the money back from a life insurance policy she had from her father who had previously died.

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Prosecuting Dale Brooks said: "The defendant told highly calculating and emotive lies about domestic abuse and alleged death of her own mother. These were told to gain his trust and sympathy.

Dana Twidale

"The defendant then started to make repeated requests for money, obtaining £42,000 from a man who did not have that sort of money. He had to borrow many of thousands of pounds from the bank and from his own family."

The man has had to have counselling following his ordeal.

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After learning that the woman was about to receive a substantial sum of money, Twidale gained her confidence and proposed she invest £2,500 in a wedding planning business - claiming that her previous business partner had pulled out. The woman gave Twidale just over £650 of her money.

It was using her wedding business she originally set up in 2016, that Twidale defrauded 24 further victims, who entrusted her to arrange various parts of their special day, parting with their hard-earned money. Some couples didn't find out that their plans had been ruined until the night before their nuptials when suppliers informed them they had no record of the booking done via Twidale.

Couples lost sums of money varying from £100 to £2,247.

"When I look back at my wedding day it is now filled with stress and sadness."

As rumours of her scams began circulating on social media, Twidale fled with the money to Benidorm on a month long holiday.

She was arrested and charged upon returning to East Yorkshire.

Twidale pleaded guilty to 26 counts of fraud between August 2017 and July 2019.

In mitigation, Michelle Stuart-Lofthouse said Twidale was extremely remorseful of her actions.

She said: "The words she has written in the numerous documents for me include how sorry she is to all of the couples that are involved as part of her offending.

"She also says that the word sorry means nothing and she accepts that because what's done is done.

"She accepts she took advantage of everybody concerned and again reminded me that she doesn't want any forgiveness. She knows they can't forgive her and that saying sorry is not enough."

Judge Bury described Twidale's actions as "shameful" and sentenced her to a total of five years in prison.