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Is The Puppet Master Real?

Gabriella Ferlita

| Last updated 

Is The Puppet Master Real?

Netflix-watchers are traumatised after binge-watching the new true-crime documentary The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman. The series centres around conman Robert Hendy-Freegard, dubbed “The Puppet Master”. But is “The Puppet Master” real?

Is the Puppet Master real?

Yes, “The Puppet Master” is indeed based on a true story. Hendy-Freegard, is really thought to be one of the world’s worst fraudsters. 

The fraudulent man in question, Hendy-Freegard, was born on 1st March 1971 in Dronfield, Derbyshire.


Being convicted in 2005, “The Puppet Master” stole nearly £1 million from at least seven women and one man. 

Hendy-Freegard did really work in a pub in Shropshire, England, as well as a car dealership, where he’d meet and trick his victims into believing he was an undercover MI5 agent, part of the Special Branch or Scotland Yard units working against the IRA. 

The fraudster stole thousands and pounds from his victims, fooling them into believing they were being identified by the IRA, and isolating them from their friends and family.

The Scotland Yard and the FBI organised a sting operation and arrested Hendy-Freegard at Heathrow Airport in 2002. 


After an eight-month trial at Blackfriars Crown Court in 2005, the con artist was convicted for two counts of kidnapping, 10 of theft and eight of deception.

Hendy-Freegard was given a life sentence, but this was revoked after an appeal against his kidnapping convictions in 2007, and he was released from prison in 2009.

In 2012, it was reported that a single mother-of-two Sandra Clifton, met a man on a dating app called “David Hendy”, who claimed to work in the media.

The man, “David”, started to become controlling, and tried to alienate and defraud Clifton’s family, forcing her children to move out.


The pair disappeared two years later, but Clifton was found and questioned by police officers in 2015. The woman notified the police that she was aware of “David’s” true identity being Robert Hendy-Freegard, and wanted to stay with him anyway. 

The Times reported to track down the fraudster in recent moments, who was noticed to be entering pedigree dogs into Crufts.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Netflix, TV and Film, Documentaries, True Crime

Gabriella Ferlita
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