Wedding scammer who conned brides out of £60,000 before vanishing is jailed for five years
A WEDDING scammer who conned dozens of brides out of up to £60,000has today been jailed for five years.
"Shameful" Dana Twidale fled to Spain after duping brides and grooms out of their hard-earned wedding savings.
The 44-year-old also scammed ex-lovers, her former husband and catering companies as her deceit stretched across the country.
Twidale even callously lied and told one vulnerable boyfriend she was a victim of domestic abuse and faked a black eye using make up.
She escaped to Benidorm after her web of lies was exposed by fuming couples and was spotted sunning herself on a beach.
There were also sightings of her in Tenerife but she was eventually caught by cops while working in a takeaway in Hull.
Twidale has now been sentenced to five years after admitting 26 counts of fraud at Hull Crown Court.
Judge Mark Bury branded her actions as "shameful" as he sentenced her today.
The court heard Twidale fled to Spain to escape a social media backlash -as her lawyer told the court her client was sorry.
Michele Stuart-Lofthouse, defending, said: "The words she has written in the numerous documents for me include how sorry she is to all of the couples that are involved as part of her offending.
"She also says that the word sorry means nothing and she accepts that because what's done is done.
"She accepts she took advantage of everybody concerned and again reminded me that she doesn't want any forgiveness. She knows they can't forgive her and that saying sorry is not enough."
The fraud took place between August 2017 to July 2019 and is thought to be between £55,000 to £60,000.
The court was told excited newlyweds handed over thousands of pounds to the crooked wedding planner to help with their big day.
But when the wedding approached, they discovered empty marquees, cakes and photographers unbooked and decorations missing.
One couple, who lost £620, said: "Your wedding day is the biggest day of your life and something you should be able to look forward to.
"I look back and rather thinking of the good things I am constantly reminded what she put us through. Unfortunately, due to additional costs we had to sacrifice our honeymoon."
The court also heard a statement from a couple who paid £540 – only to be told Twidale had "done a runner".
They were forced to borrow money from family to pay for the wedding.
Another bride forked out £2,470 to Twidale for a marquee wedding but nothing was delivered and the fraudster, who was in Spain at the time, ignored her calls.
While one bride rearranged her wedding so her dying mum could walk her down the aisle – only for Twidale to disappear with half her budget.
A Facebook group was set up by furious couples with hundreds of members revealing their own heartbreaking stories in 2019.
Ex-boyfriends also claimed she had tricked them into handing over cash – including one who alleged she stole £42,000 from him.
Nigel Wainwright, whose dad had just died, believed Twidale's lies she was being abuse by the boyfriend she lived with – when she in fact lived alone.
After she used make up to fake injuries, he took out nine loans to help her escape her "situation" during their ten-month relationship.
He also handed her money to help pay for her mum's funeral even though she was "alive and well" in an "abhorrent and cunning" lie.
But it was Mr Wainwright who called police after growing suspicious of her lies.
After she was arrested, Twidale claimed she was "chasing her losses" after she started gambling when she got into debt.
Her ex-husband Carl, who claimed she took money from him, previously branded her "wicked and twisted".
Speaking after she pleaded guilty in May, he said: "It has been really tough. I've lived my life in the darkness with no lights on and it has been tough.
"I've had threats and I've had to hide my car just in case but on the plus side I've had other victims say 'we know you had no involvement and we want to stay friends'."
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