Love rat who broke woman's heart and finances is nabbed
One of Britain’s most wanted men has been caught in a luxury Swiss flat after stealing R15m in a love scam
Mark Acklom, one of Britain’s most wanted men, has been arrested in a luxury flat in Switzerland after more than two years being sought by police in Europe.
The suspected conman allegedly tricked Carolyn Woods out of £850,000 (over R15-million) in life savings after posing as an MI6 agent in a romance scam that began in 2012.
The 45-year-old is said to have promised to marry the mother of two, who said she was caught up in a “whirlwind of excitement” over the course of a year-long relationship.
But he is suspected of vanishing with the money before they could walk down the aisle, leaving Woods emotionally and financially ruined.
A European arrest warrant was issued for Acklom in June 2016 and he was believed to be at large in Spain.
In May last year, he was spotted in Geneva, where he was believed to have been with his family.
He was arrested after an intelligence-led operation involving the National Crime Agency (NCA), Avon and Somerset Police and the Swiss authorities.
Currently in custody awaiting extradition, he faces criminal proceedings for a total of 20 fraud offences when he goes before a British court.
Ian Cruxton, head of international operations for the NCA, said on Tuesday: “We are committed to protecting UK citizens from criminals who seek to exploit them and, likewise, we are equally committed to protecting citizens in other countries.”
Acklom was living in a luxury flat in Zurich with his wife and two children.
In October, Avon and Somerset police put out an appeal, saying it was searching for his wife Maria Yolanda Ros Rodriguez and their two daughters.
Woods met Acklom in 2012 when he came into her boutique to buy a jacket.
She said they began a relationship within days and moved in together, although Woods said she later discovered he had a second home nearby with his wife and two young children.
Woods, 61, of Bath, Somerset, said in 2016 “he left me destitute and destroyed my life”.
“I felt as though I had fallen in love. He told me he had never felt this way about anyone and we must get married.
“I’ve still got the wedding dress I never wore. It was all a charade. At the time I actually wished he had killed me. I was suicidal.”