A serial criminal once dubbed ‘one of the most dangerous sexual predators in Britain’ conned his girlfriend out of £4,000 before dumping her in the pub.
Infamous conman and sex fiend John Cronin, 49, took the money by pretending to be a bank manager, flashing his victim a fake business card and claiming he worked for Allied Irish Bank.
He even offered to buy her a house before pocketing the cash she withdrew to buy a car.
The victim was oblivious to the fact Cronin, of Solihull, was a notorious crook who has wreaked havoc throughout the Midlands for decades.
In 1992 he was jailed for life for sexually assaulting a Conservative Party activist in Scotland whilst posing as a priest. He served four years after an appeal.
John Cronin, 49, took the money by pretending to be a bank manager, flashing his victim a fake business card and claiming he worked for Allied Irish Bank
Since then Cronin has also been convicted of multiple counts of fraud and theft.
Birmingham Crown Court heard he was ‘terrified’ at the prospect of returning to prison, but after admitting his latest charge of theft he was jailed for 28 months.
Cronin met his latest victim in June 2019.
Prosecutor Sally Cairns said: ‘The defendant was in a short relationship with the victim. They met in a pub in Coventry. He gave her a business card.
‘She wasn’t overly interested but over the next few days they exchanged text messages and by the end of July they met again.
‘They then started a relationship. The defendant told her he was a bank manager at Allied Irish.
‘In August they went to look at houses and he told her he would buy a house for her and she could use her savings to invest in other things.
‘She decided to buy a car. The defendant told her his friend in Birmingham had two cars for sale.
‘He told her to withdraw the money in cash to buy the car and went with her to the bank where she withdrew £4,000.
‘On August 26 they went to Birmingham together to look at a car.
‘The defendant told her he would look after the cash then he put her £4,000 in his pocket.
‘They travelled to Birmingham and went to a pub in the city centre.
‘Whilst there the defendant told her to stay while he went to get something from his office.
‘Ten minutes later she received a call from him saying he was on his way back, but he never returned to her.’
Pictured: John Cronin in 1999
Ms Cairns told the court the victim became increasingly worried that ‘harm had come to the defendant’ and flagged down a police officer.
Enquiries ultimately led to Cronin being arrested in November last year.
Warren Ridley, defending, conceded his client had a ‘horrendous record’ but in more recent times had trod the ‘path of rehabilitation’ with support from the probation service.
He explained at the time of this latest offence Cronin was having difficulties with his current partner and dealing with his mother’s deteriorating health.
The barrister also argued that when he returned to Birmingham former criminal associates sought him out and ‘put pressure on him’ for money.
Calling for a suspended sentence Mr Ridley said Cronin was effectively a carer for his current partner, was studying a college course and ‘for the first time has a prospect of some paid work’.
He added: ‘He is absolutely terrified of the prospect of going back to custody. He feels he has let himself down and his family. He does feel remorse for the victim.’
But Judge Peter Carr, passing sentence on Friday, October 23, stated ‘only immediate custody is the appropriate sentence’.
He said: ‘You are what a man in the street would describe as a conman, you have been a conman for many years.
‘You began a relationship with her and persuaded her to part with £4,000 she believed was for a car she was hoping to buy.
‘Of course there wasn’t a car, there never was and you disappeared with her money.
‘I have read a victim impact statement which quite clearly outlines the distress this has caused her.
‘She had sold her home and had funds available to buy a car, now she feels she is no longer independent when dealing with finances.’
Cronin was also ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation to the victim.