A woman wooed by a ‘charismatic businessman’ who offered her modelling work has claimed she was catfished, after she discovered his firm didn’t exist.
Lucy Cates, 31, from London, began chatting to ‘Andy Marshall’ – who proclaimed to be a production company boss – online and says he quickly slipped into her DMs and lured her into chatting with him by dangling job opportunities.
She told how the conversation ‘flowed easily’ and he was ‘very charismatic’, with the pair developing a strong sexual attraction after meeting in person – but several months of dating later, the work he’d promised her never materialised.
If she tried to discuss it, Lucy said Andy would change the subject – and when she began to distance herself from him, he became ‘obsessive’.
Lucy Cates, 31, from London, says she was wooed by a ‘charismatic businessman’ who offered her modelling work – but claims she was catfished, after she discovered his firm didn’t exist
Lucy began chatting to ‘Andy Marshall’ – pictured left, with his identity concealed – online and says he quickly slipped into her DMs and lured her into chatting with him by dangling job opportunities
When she did some digging into his organisation, she couldn’t find any record of it and realised he’d been stringing her along for four months.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Lucy said: ‘The company he said he worked for did not exist and everything he had told me was a lie. He even set up a fake email address, website and Instagram profiles planting content to make it look authentic.
‘I couldn’t find out any details about him. I felt betrayed by the lies – I should have seen the signs but I fell for it. I immediately cut ties with him.’
Lucy told how the first job Andy agreed to put her up for was as a model in a music video for the English metal band Cradle of Filth.
Lucy told how the conversation ‘flowed easily’ and he was ‘very charismatic’, with the pair developing a strong sexual attraction after meeting in person – but several months of dating later, the work he’d promised her never materialised
‘It sounded like a really cool job with a mega budget,’ she recalled. ‘But every time I tried to talk about work, Andy would change the subject.
‘He never gave me any more information about the jobs he had promised me, and things started to not sit right with me.
‘Not only that, after a couple of months of seeing each other romantically, the intensity of our communication escalated.
‘If I didn’t reply to him after two hours, he would go crazy and over-dramatise everything. I’d tell him it was getting too intense and he would say things like “I want to be with you forever”.’
Lucy said he even started talking about marriage, which she thought was a joke as it was only after a few weeks of dating, but soon realised he was being serious.
Despite the red flags, Lucy claimed Andy used yet another job prospect as bait to rein her back in when she tried to distance herself, and they began seeing each other again
After a couple of months of seeing each other romantically, the intensity of their communication escalated, with Andy sometimes calling Lucy ’10 times in a row’
When Lucy tried to take a step back, she said he became nasty and manipulative, calling her ‘horrible names’.
‘He started to phone me 10 times in a row and his behaviour got very weird,’ she said. ‘He became controlling and wanted to know where I was all of the time.
‘At this point he would turn up at social gatherings and parties after seeing where I was from my social media. As a way of trying to get back into my life he tried to form relationships with my friends. Luckily, they didn’t fall for it – they said something didn’t seem right and to be careful.
‘They wished they could have vetted him before I got involved as I tend to jump into relationships too quickly and I didn’t know anything about him.’
Despite the red flags, Lucy claimed Andy used yet another job prospect as bait to rein her back in when she tried to distance herself, and they began seeing each other again.
Lucy (right) said she’s now very skeptical about people she meets online and is wary about starting up a conversation. She has signed up to the Wingman dating app, which sees friends write and vet each other’s profiles and potential matches, making it very difficult to set up a fake profile
But she remained increasingly suspicious as the work never materialised, and started to do some investigating with a friend. Between them, they began unravelling Andy’s web of lies.
Lucy never met Andy’s friends, and she now fears he was leading a ‘double life’, even going to the extreme of faking his name.
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Things came to ahead when, according to Lucy, Andy began following her.
‘He would turn up at my local train station and stare at me from across the platform. Andy really started to scare me, and I didn’t know what he was going to do next,’ she said.
‘He knew where I lived but I realised I didn’t know anything about him. I didn’t feel safe and ended up calling the police.
‘They were really understanding, and I told them everything. They said they would speak to him and I blocked him from all of my accounts.’
That was the last time Lucy heard from him, and she insists she had a ‘lucky escape’.
After her unpleasant ordeal, Lucy said she’s now very skeptical about people she meets online and is wary about starting up a conversation.
She has signed up to the Wingman dating app, which sees friends write and vet each other’s profiles and potential matches, making it very difficult to set up a fake profile.
Lucy’s selected friends can ask potential suitors a series of questions even before they swipe or introduce them to each other.
‘Having people I trust to help me navigate dating has given me my confidence back,’ Lucy admitted.
‘I feel much safer now that I know my dates are vetted.
‘It puts me at ease knowing all bios and profiles are written and verified by a third party, making it less likely to be a catfish.
‘I didn’t realise how easy it is for people to fake their profiles. I was a bit naïve in that sense.
‘You don’t expect people to go to such lengths to lie. It’s very scary as you just don’t know who you are talking to or what potential danger you might find yourself in.
‘Too many people say they are someone they are not. Most online dating is too risky. I now only date people who have been recommended and approved by my best friends.’
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