Northern Ireland news

Conman posing as Eamonn Holmes stayed for two weeks in Belfast hotel

Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford attending the Olivier Awards at the Royal Opera House, Central London. Picture by Ian West, Press Association  
John Monaghan

A MAN who posed as TV presenter Eamonn Holmes was able to stay in a Belfast hotel for two weeks before being caught.

Holmes told viewers on ITV's This Morning programme that the conman had stayed at the Europa Hotel for a fortnight with a credit card in his name.

He spoke out after it was revealed that fellow TV presenter Gloria Hunniford had been the victim of a £120,000 scam when a woman claiming to be her accessed her Santander bank account.

"It happened to me as well - exactly the same thing," he told viewers.

Mr Holmes added: "They lived as me in the Europa Hotel for two weeks with a credit card that said 'Eamonn Holmes', and they got away with it."

In 2014 it emerged that Holmes and BBC broadcaster Stephen Nolan had been defrauded by west Belfast man Jay Cartmill.

Cartmill received a two-year suspended jail sentence after admitting he had illegally accessed a credit card issued to Nolan on 42 separate occasions, in order to steal almost £18,000.

He also said he had attempted to take £30,000 from an account belonging to a company run by Holmes.

Meanwhile, police are continuing to search for the fraudster who posed as Hunniford, as well as a woman who acted as her bogus daughter.

An older woman posing as the 76-year-old radio and TV star attended a London branch of Santander on June 3 last year, saying she "had a few bob" but was ill and wanted to add her grandson as a signatory to her account.

The con artist was accompanied by a woman who said she was the presenter’s daughter, as well as a boy of 18 posing as her grandson.

A bank fraud task force set up by the Met and City of London Police has snared the fake grandson, Alan Dowie (18), and Reyon Dillon (18), who received some stolen funds.

Dowie of Oxted, London, admitted conspiracy to defraud and money laundering and is awaiting sentencing along with Dillon, from Croydon, who pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering.

Ms Hunniford — who has previously told of her devastation at the death of her daughter, Blue Peter host Caron Keating, in 2004 from breast cancer — was reimbursed by the bank once the scam was discovered.

‘I didn’t understand it from the off. I felt completely violated. These were my savings. You expect your money to be safe in a bank but it is not."

Northern Ireland news

Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: