Love rat thief who charmed his way in to the homes of women to steal cash and irreplaceable family heirlooms Chris Holding, 24, charmed his way into the hearts and homes of successful womenPolice say Holding struck up relationships with at least nine women and pocketed cash, jewellery and valuables worth nearly 8,300With existing convictions for shoplifting and theft, the he admitted to 13 counts of theft
07:43 GMT, 27 November 2012
Hustler: Chris Holding's escapades came to an end when his DNA was found on socks left at a woman's home after a one night stand
With his dashing good looks and tales of a music career on the brink of take-off, Chris Holding appeared quite a catch.
Using his 'sexual wiles', the 24-year-old charmed his way into the hearts and homes of successful women he met at trendy London nightspots.
But he was a philanderer and a conman who betrayed their trust to steal cash and irreplaceable family heirlooms.
Police know he struck up relationships with at least nine women. But they fear dozens more may have fallen victim as he invented a string of bogus names, careers and accents.
Holding posed as an American musician on the cusp of a deal or a high-flying New York Times journalist.
But, in reality, he was a barely literate chef from Preston who used his takings to fuel a hedonistic lifestyle of drink and drugs.
The former Catholic school pupil pocketed cash, jewellery and valuables worth nearly 8,300. One victim, Kelly Williams, is seven months pregnant with his child but has refused to help police.
The theatre company director, 35, once accused him of stealing goods worth 1,470 from her flat in Hampstead, North London.
But she wept as he was jailed for 45 months by Judge Daniel Worsley. He branded Holding guilty of a 'breach of trust of the highest level' and said his sentence was longer than guidelines suggest 'because of the harm you have inflicted on so many'.
The judge added: 'This was serial dishonesty and numerous breaches of personal trust.'
Holding's youngest victim was a 17-year-old North West London schoolgirl and his eldest a Harley Street cosmetic surgery nurse aged 41.
His lies finally unravelled after four years when a detective investigating a theft in May spotted a similar case from a fortnight earlier. DNA from a pair of socks he left behind after a one-night stand led to his identity and he was caught on a train at Waterloo station, London, on August 21.
At Blackfriars Crown Court, prosecutor Mark James-Dawson said Holding used his 'sexual wiles' in two ruses.
'In the first, Holding entered into a prolonged sexual relationship with his victims, gulling them into trusting him,' he said.
'He then abused their trust, stealing money and jewellery, including heirloom pieces of incalculable sentimental value.
'In the second, often while in relationships with other women, he engaged in short-term flings, and once in his victim's home, stole goods and money.'
Prosecutor Mark-James Dawson said Holding used his 'sexual wiles' to fool his victims
The two crimes which led to his capture took place in May in Camden Lock, North London. The conman met Sara McCluskey, 27, outside a restaurant and flirted by text message.
Watching her tap in her PIN as she bought drinks, he pinched the card and withdrew 240. Later that month, Holding seduced Ana Calvo. After she let him stay in her home when she went to work, he stole a laptop, camera, phone, and cash.
An earlier victim, Victoria Barrett, 34, was chatted up in a Soho bar in June 2009. Holding moved into her flat in West London, and when she went on holiday, he stole seven gold rings worth 1,500.
She refused to believe it was him until the following March when she returned home and found a 1,000 bracelet and Armani watch were missing.
Holding then vanished. In June 2010, Holding posed as a journalist from California about to relocate to London when he met Anoeshka Smit, 25, while waiting for a flight at Stansted Airport.
He moved in with her in Lewisham, South East London, but weeks later, she realised her grandmother's wedding ring had gone.
She kicked him out but he went on to steal 260 from her bank account. In June this year, Mairi Campbell met Holding at a Covent Garden nightclub and invited him home.
Holding siphoned 600 from her account but she refused to believe he was to blame and ordered a new card, with the same PIN.
He went on to steal another 773 and a 500 gold ring. Speaking afterwards, she said: 'He completely destroyed my faith in other people.'
Holding, of Gravesend, Kent, who claims to have a six-year-old son in Australia, has convictions for shoplifting and theft. He admitted 13 counts of theft. Four counts were left on file.