Portsmouth Tinder fraudster who admitted conning millionairess out of nearly £150,000 claims he was 'forced' to plead guilty

A Tinder fraudster who admitted conning a millionairess out of nearly £150,000 dramatically backtracked in court and claimed he was 'forced' to plead guilty by his solicitors.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 4:20 pm

Richard Dexter allegedly posed as a 'successful businessman' to convince victim Amrita Sebastian to fork out the huge sum after meeting her on the dating app.

Unsuspecting Miss Sebastian, a Dubai-based executive, was told he was on the verge of a 'big windfall' and that Dexter had acquired patents to valuable biopharmaceutical technology, the court heard.

Dexter convinced her the £141,000 she handed over would be invested and lead to multi-million pound deals - however Dexter allegedly pocketed the cash and Miss Sebastian called the police after he made increasingly bizarre excuses over why he couldn't pay her back.

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Richard Dexter. Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

Dexter, 38, admitted seven counts of fraud at a previous crown court hearing - but now insists he did so 'unwillingly'.

The self-proclaimed Bitcoin investor is currently on trial for two further allegations relating to the case.

‘I'm not a fraudster’, he told jurors today.

Dexter, of Southsea, claimed he was forced into entering guilty pleas after to the death of his solicitor, David Melville-Walker, who passed away aged 75 in October 2020.

He said Mr Melville-Walker worked on his case for three years and they met every two weeks and claimed after the lawyer's death crucial documents could not be recovered.

‘I didn't enter the guilty pleas willingly,’ he told Portsmouth Crown Court. ‘I found a solicitor who sadly passed away during hearings.

‘I was left unrepresented and his firm had nobody to take my case on and they lost my files.’

He insists solicitors he instructed after Mr Melville-Walker's death pressured him to say he was guilty and that he's now applying to vacate his guilty pleas.

Prosecutor Robert Bryan said: ‘The solicitor wasn't in the dock with you, the defence counsel didn't have a gun to your head, you voluntarily uttered those words.’

He added: ‘After six years of being investigated, when a solicitor told me to do it I was going to take their advice.

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‘They forced me to say guilty. I took a decision based on a forceful view of a legal representative.

‘I said guilty on strong, forceful advice.

‘The day after I pleaded guilty I discovered the solicitors had not found the [final licensing] document, it had gone missing.

‘They had not seen a single shred of my defence evidence and made me plead guilty based on the prosecution's evidence.’

Mr Bryan asked Dexter whether he is calling any of the lawyers involved as witnesses to prove his allegations.

Dexter said he is not.

Dexter is now accused of forging patent documents to try to 'wheedle out' of his fraud.

He blamed his ex-partner Maisie Evans for forging a licensing agreement found within a USB stick, claiming she doctored it with fake investor names - including one similar to his favourite artist Ray Charles.

He says three finalised licensing agreements which would prove he rightfully bought the patent cannot be seen by the court.

He says one was with his dead lawyer and can't be retrieved, one was on a laptop that was ‘stolen’ while he was at a concert in 2019, and the other is in a 'storage facility' in Tucson, Arizona.

He is also accused of producing a financial investment document which made it look like he had £4 million - he admits 'falsifying' it but claims that wasn't fraudulent as it was just a working document.

Dexter denies possessing an article used in fraud and perverting the course of justice.

(Proceeding)