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Waterloo man admits fraud in Lucie Blackman kidnap case

A 59-year-old man from Lower Marsh has admitted conning thousands of pounds out of the family of murdered former air hostess Lucie Blackman.

Waterloo resident Michael Hills faces a prison sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of obtaining property by deception when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex.

One charge relates to 15,500 he obtained from Lucie's father Tim in August 2000, when he promised he could provide information to help trace her after she went missing in Japan.

The 21-year-old former British Airways hostess told a friend in July that year that she was going on a drive to the seaside with a male client from the bar where she worked.

She was never seen again and her remains were found in a cave near Tokyo in February 2002.

Japanese property developer Joji Obara is standing trial in Tokyo accused of murdering Miss Blackman, of Sevenoaks, Kent. He denies fatal assault, or rape resulting in death.

Hills also admitted claiming 5,000 from Brian Winder, from Great Baddow, Essex – the father of Paul Winder who was reported missing in Latin America in March 2000 while taking part in a trek from Panama to Colombia.

Tim Blackman said he hoped Hills would be punished "as severely as possible" for his "despicable" crime.

Adjourning sentencing for reports until 30 May, Judge Rodger Hayward Smith QC said: "This is a particularly upsetting sort of case.

"I have read the file and the chances of him seeing anything other than a custodial sentence are remote."

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