A mum thought a former boxer dubbed the "Turkish "arrior" was the man of her dreams – but he turned out to be married and allegedly fleeced her of £35,000.
Alison Wood, 51, met Umit Sucu, 44, in a pub near her Bristol home in 2018 where he told her he was toasting his divorce.
The pair hit it off and started a relationship, but Sucu soon became "pushy" about cash in the months that followed, a court was told.
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Whilst the pair were holidaying in Tunisia, Sucu told Alison that his mum had breast cancer and he was struggling to access his bank account in Istanbul.
She gave him £13,600, and later more money when he claimed he needed to pay a fine.
Prosecutors said Sucu spent that money himself.
Alison said: "Looking back, I think how could I have just believed him? But I loved him and wanted to do everything I could to help his situation.
"My mum died shortly after meeting him. He even helped us arrange the funeral.
"It got to the point where he was such a big part of my life, I never thought to question his intentions."
Sucu's deception began to unravel a year into their relationship when Alison bumped into one of his ex-girlfriends.
She told Alison that he was still married so Alison visited his wife's place of work, who confirmed they were living together in a council house.
Alison added: "I wanted to believe it wasn't true but it suddenly all started to make sense. He'd promised to pay me back from his inheritance, which I found out didn't exist.
"I contacted the police. Our whole relationship was based on deception both financially and emotionally as he'd also been unfaithful throughout our entire relationship."
Sucu was caught in October 2020, admitted two counts of fraud and was handed a two-year suspended sentence and 200 hours of community service.
Alison says she had £9,000 back from him, and Bristol Crown Court ordered him to repay a further £7,120.
She claims to still be significantly out of pocket after paying a total of £25,000 for the supposed cancer treatment and a further £10,000, which she alleges he used to pay off debts and buy a car that was later repossessed.
Lots of the money was allegedly handed over in cash, making it hard to prove that Alison did give it to Susu.
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"The sentence is extremely light for the pain and misery he's caused me and no doubt he'll do the same again to somebody else," Alison said.
"I'm still owed a lot more money. I was blinded by love. Now I see what he really is.
"It's just a shame it took me as long as it did to figure it out."
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