How a lonely millionairess sold herself for sex... and met her killer
ONE of Britain’s most prolific fraudsters faced a life sentence last night after being convicted of murdering a lonely millionairess.
Carole Waugh, 49, fell foul of Rakesh Bhayani, 41, while looking for companionship and selling her body for sex.
The ‘sociopathic’ conman hoped to steal her identity and pocket a ‘£1million jackpot’ after they met through a lonely hearts column. The couple had an affair as Miss Waugh, bored by her day job as an accounts clerk, spent her nights earning up to £500 as an amateur escort under the name ‘poshtottyfun’.
But when she realised Bhayani was duping her and wanted to steal her life savings and £650,000 flat, he plunged a knife into her neck.
Friends and family said ‘attractive and charming’ Miss Waugh appeared to have it all as she prepared to celebrate her 50th birthday at her flat in exclusive Marylebone in Central London.
In truth, the former expat oil executive was
‘Boasted of her Gaddafi links’
a ‘Walter Mitty’ character living a double life in a world of easy cash and illicit thrills.
She boasted of links to the Gaddafis in Libya and her mobile phone rang constantly with men looking for sex after seeing her profile on explicit online listings. Police traced up to 50 of her lovers and clients, and one investment banker revealed how she met him on her doorstep clad in only a dressing gown.
Yesterday, one of those men, career fraudster Bhayani, was convicted at the Old Bailey of her cold-blooded murder. The obsessive high-stakes gambler and compulsive liar killed his on- off lover when he feared Miss Waugh would tell his wife he was losing up to £215,000 a night at casinos.
His former prison cellmate, ex-public schoolboy Nicholas Kutner, 48, was cleared of murder but convicted of helping to cover up the killing. The two fraudsters plundered Miss Waugh’s estate in the weeks after her death by hiring a team of ‘ lookalikes’ to pose as their victim.
A senior detective last night branded the two fraudsters as ‘very nasty men without a single shred of conscience’.
After returning home from Libya in 2008, Miss Waugh struggled to settle down to life as an office worker and moved from job to job. She was kicked out of the oil-rich nation after eight years when her employer fell out with Colonel Gaddafi’s unstable ruling cabal.
Back in Britain, she was a long way from the historic coal mining village of Haswell, Durham, where she was brought up, and she had ditched any trace of a Northern accent. Now she regaled friends with ‘tall tales’ of her close friendship with Gaddafi’s son Saif and how they travelled the world together meeting VIPs. She claimed to have rubbed shoulders with Foreign Secretary William Hague and to be in talks with aides of David Cameron about a return to the war-torn state.
One former boyfriend, a civil servant, said Miss Waugh was ‘attractive and charming’.
He said: ‘She was great fun and clearly enjoyed the company of men. She openly told me she also had a rich benefactor who lived near Durham. She did the accounts for him and got paid well for it – I don’t know if that is where the relationship ended.’
But in reality, Miss Waugh was a lonely singleton with a high sex drive. Posing as ‘Sarah’, she advertised her services under the username ‘poshtottyfun’ on up to nine websites, including Gumtree and Adult-work.
Photographed in her underwear, she said she was interested in ‘lots of good clean adult fun’ and described herself as ‘sexy, educated, well-travelled, not professional, an amateur giving a true girlfriend experience’.
Friends said she enjoyed the liaisons, and saw the money – up to £500 for a few hours – as an added bonus. She used the cash to pay for everything in her life, leaving her savings untouched.
One of the men who contacted her was Bhayani, a conman who had thought nothing of stealing £1.5million from his own family to pay for his relentless gambling habit. At first, their friendship blossomed and despite his crimes they became lovers, as she was lulled by his smooth-talking patter and his many ‘get rich’ schemes.
Miss Waugh even visited him in prison, and offered to pay £15,000 for a gambling rehab course after writing a reference describing him as ‘one of the good guys’.
But their relationship turned sour
‘Signed her own death warrant’
when she realised he was lining her up for a huge swindle, targeting her savings and £650,000 home, and would never repay a £40,000 loan.
By now Bhayani had brought in Kutner, the adopted son of a wealthy Jewish family who supplied carpets to Buckingham Palace, to help steal and launder her assets. Between them the pair amassed almost 200 convictions and lived like lottery winners – staying in the best hotels, dining in Mayfair and spending tens of thousands on prostitutes and fast cars.
Bhayani posed as a consultant cardiologist at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. Known as ‘Tricky Ricky’, the teetotal, vegetarian, pot-bellied fraudster was once banned from every Ladbrokes in Britain and lost £215,000 in one night at a casino.
One psychiatrist said he was a hopeless case, with a ‘sociopathic inability’ to show sympathy for his victims, and someone who broke the law ‘for no real reason’.
Kutner, educated at £20,000-ayear Pangbourne College, pretended to be a Geneva- based luxury wine merchant and he repeatedly stole goods by paying with stolen or dud cheques.
Detectives suspect Miss Waugh signed her own death warrant by threatening to tell Bhayani’s wife of his reckless gambling and crimes. Desperate for cash and to keep his wife in the dark, Bhayani stabbed Miss Waugh to death on the night of April 16 last year.
Within days he and Kutner began draining her accounts as they obtained a £225,000 loan, stole her £65,000 savings and ran up a £15,000 credit card bill.
They even tried to sell, rent out and re-mortgage her £650,000 flat as Kutner posed as her bank manager brother Christopher.
Hotel staff, waitresses and prostitutes said the pair were suddenly awash with cash, stuffing a hotel safe full with £50 notes.
They were caught on CCTV at banks and bookmakers, often with one of their band of ‘lookalike’ accomplices who shared the proceeds of the fraud. One woman was sent out to buy expensive £5,000 handbags from Chanel and Selfridges and a Big Issue seller was given £60 to buy a holdall.
The two conmen put Miss Waugh’s body inside it and left it in the boot of a car. In May last year, her family raised the alarm when they received a letter saying one of her direct debits had not been honoured. It took Scotland Yard detectives another three months to find her decomposing body in a rented South-West London garage.
When he was finally arrested, Bhayani told detectives Miss Waugh agreed to be cheated as part of an insurance scam. But after her body was uncovered, he turned on Kutner, accusing him of being violent and unstable.
In turn, Kutner, who was represented by the Prime Minister’s QC brother Alex Cameron, produced a mystery witness, ‘Mr X’, who said Bhayani confessed to the murder in prison. The witness claimed he re- enacted the blow that killed Miss Waugh and later described himself as a ‘lady killer’.
Bhayani, of Wembley, North-West London, and Kutner, of Kentish Town, North London, will be sentenced today. A third man, Elie Khoury, 40, accused of recruiting the lookalikes, was acquitted.