Here's the deal. I've been single since time immemorial. So, in an attempt to remedy my eternal singledom, and to get over my nauseatingly pathological fear of dates, I've decided to challenge myself. The challenge? To go on one first date a week for a year! So in 52 weeks time, I will have either found my Mr Right, or I'll stay forever Miss Write. This is what happens...

The Rules

Here are the rules to the 52 First Dates challenge...

1. A first date must be had once a week, EVERY week, for a year, that's 52 dates in 52 weeks.

2. Taking someone home after a drunken night on the cider does NOT count.

3. Second and third dates are allowed, I must continue first dates unless there are exceptional mitigating circumstances. For example, God forbid, the start of a relationship.

4. Each date must be blogged.

08 November 2012

Sebastian Pritchard-Jones Strikes Back!

***12/07/13 - since this update was originally written, we have since identified those who had their photos used without permission, and I have removed the majority of them out of courtesy to those pictured***

Hello there 52 First Dates fans! Bet you weren't expecting to hear from me on here again were you? No. Well, there have been developments, as the title of this entry suggests. Remember the fictitious Sebastian Pritchard-Jones who made a few guest appearances during the blog when a couple of his other victims got in touch with me? Well, there have been more. And boy has that bastard been busy!

In total there are now five of us girls that have duped by this duplicitous, twisted, manipulative beast who has been posing as other people online to try and groom women, and aside from the one guy I know of who had his identity stolen to groom both myself and the first two girls to get back in touch, it seems that before us, he'd been masquerading as at least two other poor, unsuspecting guys.

When I first posted my disgruntled article about the apparently handsome Welsh teacher that buggered me around, stood me up and then turned up to be a psycho in a perfume bottle, I didn't expect anything more than having used it as something to write about. But the response I have had since has given me chills on a regular basis.

To save doing numerous annoying links to previous posts, I've written the entire story up according to every woman Seb has targeted, including myself. I've also attached pictures and key bits of information that we think will help lead us to who the hell this evil creature is. This guy has done some seriously sick psychological damage to those he's dicked around over the years, and we are determined to find him. And find him we will. With your help. So if there's anything in here that means anything to you, rings any bells, recognise any pictures or names or pricks any consciences, then please get in touch. He'll probably have changed his name by now, but it's hard to change such a thickly-woven web of lies, and I know there must be more of us out there.

So grab yourself a cup of tea, pop on your best Miss Marple hat and brace yourself.

My story – May 2011
Seb first got in touch with me in May 2011 through the dating website Smooch (yes, I know, I die). His first approach was forward, to say the least: ‘so when are you going to ask me out then?’.  Usually I’d be put right off this sort of arrogant approach, but shallowly I liked his pictures, he ticked all the right boxes and I liked the cut of his jib from his profile. Plus I’d just started a blog called 52 First Dates where I forced myself to go on an internet date every week for a year, and I needed to line up my second date, and Seb seemed like a good enough option. So we started messaging through the site and eventually exchanged numbers to sort out a date.

Within a very short space of time, he had bulldozed his way into my life in epic style. But before we move onto that, I would like you to meet Sebastian P-J, known as Seb, or affectionately known as the boy with the disabled eyes and the Sticklebrick hair:

So here’s his story. Seb is 35 years old, has an older brother Josh, a policeman and sister Amy, a radiographer married to Gary, another policeman. His mum Trish and dad still live in Wales and after many years of marriage have a date night every night. He lives alone in his own 4 bedroomed house in a gated development in Marylebone (part bought thanks to his granny), and works as a primary school teacher in Westminster, in line to become Deputy Head. 

His ex girlfriend Laura used to work in A&E and tragically died of breast cancer a few years ago. He’d stayed with her til the bitter end, despite her wanting him to father her children as she was dying which put him through incredible emotional strain. Since Laura, he has been on his own with the exception of an alleged affair with a daytime television presenter. He likes to paint, makes excellent roast potatoes, loves Swansea City, adores his 3 year old niece Tilly and his ‘sexy gran’, used to play the drums in a band and last year did a photographic challenge during which he had to photograph himself doing something new every day. His granddad is stricken with Alzheimers and Seb is the glue to keep them all together. 

His best friend is 'Phillip' who was severely disabled as a result of botched childhood innoculations. They'd been to school together, and Seb would regularly visit him. He is a huge football fan, and they'd regularly go to watch matches together.

Seb is sweet, sensitive, the life and soul of the party, and on paper he is quite possibly the perfect boyfriend. And reading all of this back now the same warning bells I had at the time are ringing again.

 One thing that did concern me about Seb was from an early stage, his flirting technique needed work. He could be seedy. So each time he crossed one of these tasteless lines, I would tell him to stop being a sex pest, and to be-fucking-have. And, like any sensitive man would, he'd get back behind the line he had crossed. Against my better judgement, because I had to meet my quota for 52 First Dates style I agreed to meet him for a date, because you can only really judge a person properly when you're sat across a table for them. So, two weeks later we arranged to meet on a Monday in a pub in Soho. And this is where is all began...

                                                       At the silent disco
Monday afternoon rolled around, and an hour before we were due to meet, he texted to cancel on the grounds that he had had a disclosure at school. One of his pupils had told him that she was being abused by her father, and he had spent the afternoon involved with the police and social services. All in all, that sounds like a pretty rubbish day at work, so we decided to reschedule for Thursday that week. 

Later that week I went to meet him, and we had even spoken an hour beforehand to arrange the venue, but he never turned up. I was not just furious but utterly embarrassed that I’d got it so wrong. A couple of days later I heard from him out of the blue. It emerged that he had snapped a cruciate ligament during football training and had ended up in hospital. Wow, this boy really is unlucky I thought.

The following week we started speaking on the phone. He would text me throughout the day and ring me every night. He would send me photos of himself, some doing kooky things, some of him on holiday, a couple of him lying in bed. He obviously wanted me to fancy him, and as you can tell from the photos, he's rather lovely on the eye. I was going to turn a blind eye to the borderline narcissism until I'd at least met the bugger. We'd chat for hours at a time, getting to know each other, finding common ground, taking the piss, developing our own in jokes and getting all the more closer.

A spider diagram Seb sent to me. Red felt-tip pen. Of course...
I won't lie, I was starting, in part, to fall for him. He had a story for everything, which with the benefit of my retrospectrometer bears all the hallmarks of a pathological fantasist. But for every sweet comment, funny photo, sensitive anecdote there was always a little question mark and yet another subtle little attempt to get me to give him a little sleazy titillation.

Over the space of about 2 weeks, I must've spent over 20 hours talking to this man. He told me about the death of his ex girlfriend Laura, his best friend 'Phillip' who was brain-damaged, an alleged affair he had with a popular daytime television presenter, the practical jokes played between him and his brother (including bricking up the front door and inviting a tramp round for Christmas lunch), I felt I knew everything about this man. And in return he knew about my job, my hobbies, my previous relationships, and I’m ashamed to say some skeletons in my closet. And looking back over our conversations now, for every hour on the phone, there was always one little seedy undertone. I can remember him casually slipping things like bra size, anal sex, contraception and even menstrual cycles into conversation. But because they were all anecdotal, or heavily embedded in the in jokes or the sensitive side of things, the alarm bells tinkled a little, but it was nothing I felt I couldn't handle. These are topics that come up with friends, and after all this time, we were becoming friends, friends under a sort of pressure cooker intensity. But every time he tried to eek out something personal from me, my bra size, my views on contraception, my personal cycle, I would bat them away out of the park and he'd be left with nothing. Reading this back now, I feel sick to my stomach.  With the benefit of hindsight, I can see now that all this investment in me was for those tiny little seedy snippets.

But by now I still wanted to meet the man behind the smooth Welsh tones. I needed to check that Seb in real life was who I thought he was, and any such salaciousness could be spotted in person, and nipped in the bud. By this time my curiosity had already got the better of me, and I'd tried to find him online. But to pour fuel to my already-increasing suspicions, I could find no trace of him. Not even using journalistic tools used to verify identities. And I am, if I do say my self, pretty fucking good at finding people online. Everyone's on there somewhere, whether it'd for an old school photo, a Just Giving donation, or a vox pop in the local press. But nevertheless, we arranged to meet on the following Friday night and I was determined to get the the bottom of this. However, come Friday afternoon, he cancelled again, this time with the best reason yet: his brother Josh, a policeman, had been having an affair with a colleague's wife. The colleague then found out, a fight broke out, the colleague winds up in hospital and the brother ends up in custody. Oh, and her baby might well have been his brother's. So Seb goes home to look after his devastated family, and once again I'm left high and dry and wondering what sort of a dramatic life this guy has.

By this point I am still hearing daily warning bells like tinnitus, but to honour my blog, and because I was gradually being more and more charmed by this man in a shameful way, I was determined to meet him to find out once and for all what was going on. 
Then, out of the blue on Tuesday, came some rather sinister messages one night from a strange number. The conversation went as follows:
07507 *** ***: New number peeps (20.32)
Me: Who is this? x (20.42)
07507 *** ***: You were great xx (21.01)
Me: Who is this??? x (21.12)
07507 *** ***: You know (21.24)
CTS: No I don't...this is your new number (21.43)
07507 *** ***:  I hear you are seeing somebody (21.51)
Me: Who is this? (21.52)
07507 *** ***:You fukin no who. Lets start where we left off xx (22.47)
Me: No I have no idea who you are. You either tell me who this is or stop messaging (23.04)
07507 *** ***:Don't mess with me Claire. Played hard to get b4 (23.08)
Me: Who is this? (23.08)
07507 *** ***:You know who so let us stop f***ing around with the other geezer (23.10)
Me: No I do not know who this is. I don't have your number and I have no idea what you are talking about. Leave me alone. (23.10)
07507 *** ***:I will find out who he is. If I can't have youre nor can he (23.12)
Me: Who the f*** are you? (23.13)
07507 *** ***:Small the world but it pays to be street wise (23.14)
Me: Tell me who the f*** you are and how you have my number or I'm going to the police (23.17)

At no point had I ever told anyone I was 'seeing' someone, because I’d been single for 8 years by this point, and my first instinct was that Seb had bought another phone to try and frighten me. This was all very wrong. During these messages, Seb called me and caught me in some distress that these messages, and the first thing I did was to check that it wasn't him. I just knew he had something to do with it. I just knew. He was mortified at the accusation, denied it fervently, and then offered to help by sending the number to his brother-in-law, another policeman on duty. He also queried whether this could be one of my skeletons come back to get me, something I knew was an impossible option. But then he offered to send a cab to collect me and I could stay in his spare room if I was frightened. Ding-a-ling-a-fucking-ling. Not on your life sunshine. I tried calling the strange number back and it rang and rang but no answer and no voicemail. The next day I tried the same and the phone was off. This bore all the markings of a PAYG phone, and one I suspected had been bought for purpose. And the more I thought about it, I suspected he had used something I told him in trust to scare me, and then he could sweep in and look after me.

The next few days were pretty horrific, he was still calling and messaging, one minute offering to look after me and the other expressing such horror that I was still questioning who he was. I knew I had to find out the answer to draw a line under everything. Everything I knew about him was just so intangible, nothing I could use to verify his identity. I was driving myself mad. Here was this handsome man who had been increasingly adoring of me, and yet the alarms were still clanging all over the shop. So today I finally asked where he worked. If he had nothing to hide, he would have told me. But because of these messages that had apparently spooked him too, he refused. This cemented my thoughts that he was to blame for the strange messages and that he wasn't who he said he was. I confronted him, and I said he either had to give me some proof of who he was or to leave me alone. I mentioned all of the failed date attempts, all at his behest, and said he had no intention of ever meeting me. The photo I then received told me everything I needed to know.

Why on earth would you buy someone some expensive perfume when you have never met them? Why? But even more bizarrely, look at the reflection in the bottle. Just look. That, my friends, is not the tall, dark, handsome Welsh stranger that had been messaging and calling me constantly for a month. Oh no. That is a total stranger. I have been joking all along about the film Catfish, and it turns out I have just been living it myself. I confronted Seb straight away only to be told I was being paranoid, and then I got a number of messages telling me what a fuck up I was, how I was wrong in the head and how he wished he'd never messaged me. His change of tone confirmed everything I needed to know. I now have more than enough reason to believe I had been being groomed all along. I won't lie, when I thought I was potentially fucking up something with someone I loved the sound of, I felt terrible. But now, I feel relieved. I am trying not to dwell over the hours of chats we have had over the last few weeks because I do feel incredibly violated, despite my constant vigilance of holding things back. I hate that I have given so much of myself to someone who, if we're being honest, I did have some reservations about from the very start before he started to win me over. Late that night he texted me  telling me how he was falling in love with me, trying to get me back into open conversation. I told him to leave me alone or I would contact the police. I never heard from him again.
I reported the incident to the police, but since Seb had not harmed me, threatened me nor defrauded me of money, there was no crime. The most they could tell me was that someone with a ‘similar name’ had been reported for something similar a year before, but it wasn’t followed up. The only thing there was to go on were the threatening messages which could be seen as harassment. 

Fast forward a week after posting my blog and the first of many revelations happened.

 C's story
C was catapaulted into the Seb saga by utter fluke. After spattering my blog all over social networking sites in an attempt to get some answers about who or what Seb was, I was utterly astonished at some outstanding detective work amongst my Facebook friends. One of them recognised the background of the silent disco photo as being in Milton Keynes shopping centre. After posting this observation on my wall, within hours both her and another friend had managed to locate the man in the photos and had sent me links to his profile. His surname was exactly the same as one of the key names in Seb's web of lies. Unbefuckinglievable. 

On Sunday morning I wrote perhaps one of the strangest emails that he will have ever received. 'Hello, you don't know me, but I feel like I know you. Don't freak out now, but have a little read of my blog...' Would he reply? I know I would...but this is just too fucking weird right? Right! Sunday night, as if by magic, C got back in touch, and I can safely say he was as totally shocked by what was going on as I was. It turns out that many of the details I had been told, personal details, about his life, likes, loves had been lifted straight from his life. Other details had come from elsewhere. But in any case that, and the fact that I had been sent around 80 photos documenting his life over the last few years, was enough to freak him right out. Every single picture of Seb I'd been sent were actually of C. So where now? I'd been duped by some sort of pathological liar, and C had had his life stolen.

I then went about sending C every photo I had been sent from 'Sebastian' in an attempt to piece together how he could have acquired all these pictures. I sent him as much of a dossier as I could, including the last few digits of his phone numbers in case C could identify it as maybe one of his so-called friends who would have had access to all these pictures. But what we then found out made us both feel physically sick. C emailed me back with Sebastian's exact telephone number, and said it belonged to a woman who called herself Amy, whom he had been messaging back in 2008 through Plenty of Fish. He had never spoken to her over the phone only text, but like Seb, she'd cancelled meetings on a number of occasions. It turns out we had both been speaking to the same person.

'Amy' as sent to C, which we've since traced to having come from a MILF site

C’s ex girlfriend used to work in A&E, as Seb’s ex Laura had, but unlike Laura she was still very much alive and well. C also collected vintage Cortinas and restored them, which had become part of Seb’s story with me. He had also done a to do something new every day for a year. He had a group devoted to this on Facebook, and nearly every single photo Seb had sent me had been lifted from this group. Seb had a different picture to back up every anecdote he had to spin me.

Randomly Amy had got in touch with C out of the blue by text on that same telephone number in early 2011 asking for photos of buttonfly jeans because he knew that C used to work for Levis. In the spider diagram Seb had sent me, he’d put buttonfly jeans as one of the things he liked.

The phone number both C and I had for Seb / 'Amy' was 0770* *** 114. They may have also used a phone with the number 0750* *** 375, the number used to send me threatening messages.

Between the two of us, we had C removed from Smooch, updated the police, and that we thought was that. Until two months later... 

D’s story
On 25th July 2011 I had a message on Twitter that made my blood run cold. I had a message from a girl telling me she was the latest ‘idiot’. I messaged her privately to find out what was going on, and it turned out that Seb’s latest victim, the girl he moved onto after me had been shown my blog by her mother, who had grown suspicious that her daughter was falling for a man she’d never met. Understandably she was distraught, and that day cut off all ties with him. After she’d calmed down we messaged at length to try and establish what we both knew about him. As it turns out he’d spun almost an identical web of lies for her.

Over the course of just 2 weeks, D and Seb had spoken on the phone for over 60 hours. He was totally sucking her in. According to her, he was also 35 years old, born on 19th April, lived in a gated property in Marylebone where everything was painted black and which apart from the lounge which his mum had painted lime green and brown. He’d recently lost his grandfather, and his sister Amy (37) a sonographer was married to a policeman called Gary and they had a child together, Tilly. He also had a best friend called Steve, who Seb described as ‘short, ginger and rich’ who was marrying a girl in August who was only after him for his money. Seb was due to be the best man, the stag do was on July 15th and they’d gone paint-balling and playing golf. Both and I had had the same photo backing up Seb’s paint-balling story, one lifted from C's collection.

When D started talking about Seb’s ex Laura, again the same story had rung true. They’d met on a train from Bristol to London, chatted the whole way, had gone for lunch once they arrived and the rest was history. Seb had been teaching in the Bristol area (where he’d had an affair with his headmistress), but relocated to London only six weeks later to be with Laura.

She spoke in detail about his relationship with Laura. They had a turbulent relationship, but they always ended up back together. The last 2 years they spent together, she had been ill and wanted to have a baby and get married before she died, but he didn’t want to be left bringing up a child on his own. At Christmas 2010 after she’d died, he’d had to get his Mum to tell her parents he couldn’t cope with having contact any more. When Laura had died, he’d taken his vintage Cortina (which he won as a bet when he was 18) and drove all the way to Cortina in Italy to get away. As it turns out, C collected and restored old cars, including Cortinas.

D also knew the same information about Seb’s family. His father, Benjamin, was originally from Yorkshire and his mum Trish was from Tenby.  She’d  worked in a hotel, and one night Benjamin and his friends stayed out late so she’d locked them out. Eventually she let him in, and they chatted all through the night. Later, he tracked her down, and they got married and had been together 45 years. Both are also teachers.
Seb’s grandparents were also from Tenby, and were very wealthy. It was Seb’s grandfather Harry that had died. He had a box at Swansea City football club which would always stay in the family. Seb would always take 'Phillip'  to go and watch from there.
D knew a lot about 'Phillip' too. 'Phillip'   was 7 years older than Seb, and they had met at school. 'Phillip'  had been left disabled and brain-damaged as a child. 'Phillip's  mum was an alcoholic and had abused him, so he was taken away and put in a home in Milton Keynes. Seb would visit him in Milton Keynes, saw how sad he was to be there, so brought him back to Wales. As it turns out, C is from Milton Keynes.

The things D knew Seb loved were Wales, Tenby. Swansea City (he’d ring her up drunk singing Swansea City songs, as he’d done with me), Cortinas, cricket, squash, running, taking photos and art. His best friends were Steve, Lucy and 'Phillip'.  They’d also play Scrabble a lot, with his username Sebbie 76. D had met him through Smooch, but she’d also found him on OK Cupid.

After finding my blog, she never spoke to or heard from him again. We both thought that was that, and we'd never hear about Sebastian Pritchard-Jones ever again.

Fast forward seven months...

M’s story
M got in touch with me through the blog on 27th of February this year. She’d also met Seb through Smooch under the same username Soujourn. The couple had been texting and then speaking from April 2011 until June 2011, just before he moved onto me. Once again the same stories rang true – his ex Laura had died, his sister Amy was a sonographer, he had a brother called Gareth who was a policeman having an affair (almost the same as Josh in my case), his niece Tilly was ill in hospital and his best friend was 'Phillip'  who she’d actually spoken to over the phone.

As part of their routine, they’d have ‘cuddle time’ in bed over the phone, and she said he’d asked her some of the personal questions he’d asked me which had been met with the same distain. When Seb had got in touch, M had been going through a terrible time nearly losing her mother and she was in a very vulnerable place. Within 4 days of them first messaging he knew about her mum and kept asking more and more questions. He totally got into her head, posing as a knight in shining armour. He’d even tried the ‘get in a cab and I’ll look after you’ line with her which of course she didn’t act upon.

After he stood her up the first time, because Tilly had split her head open and had to go to hospital, he sent a bouquet of 12 red roses to her former workplace which she thought was a very over-the-top gesture. The second time they were due to meet, Seb had texted her half an hour beforehand to confirm details, then told her about Laura and cancelled because he was getting ‘freaked out’ about how things were moving on. Later she had drunken phone calls and text saying he’d made a big mistake, but M called everything off. A few weeks later, Seb got back in touch, and M questioned who he really was and if he had lied. He denied everything, and it all started again.

After standing her up for the second time, M set up a bogus profile on Smooch looking for ‘no strings fun’. She checked out Seb’s profile and they started messaging. She sent him her housemate’s phone number, and was shocked to discover he was sending her very explicit and ‘out of character’ messages. She gave him a fake address, they arranged to ‘meet’, and of course he never turned up, because apparently he had fallen asleep. The next night, he texted again saying he was in Soho and wanted to meet up, and kept calling and calling the phone. Her housemate panicked and didn’t answer, at which point he turned nasty and accused her of being ‘one of his crazy exes’.

M last arranged to meet Seb on 11th June 2012, knowing full well he would never turn up. He didn’t, and they never spoke again.

In total they had been on contact for 7 weeks, with a 2 week break after he stood her up for a second time. When M and I compared dates, Seb last stood M up 8 days before my first date with Seb, so he had already been lining me up at the end of their ‘relationship’.
This was someone clearly planning the whole duping and grooming process knowing full well that sooner or later his victim's would tire of his psychotic bullshit.

So there we go, three victims and the owner of a stolen identity found, all thanks to some stupid blog piece I wrote bitterly after being stood up. This thing was getting bigger, and weirder. But as I was soon to find out, the three of us had got off lightly....
Rachel’s story
Rachel got in touch with me on 19th June 2012. She had been sucked in by Seb for 9 months during 2010. But this Seb had a different face 

***photo since removed after tracking down the original subject***

Once I started to speak to Rachel, the same stories started to come out, but there were some key differences. She had met him through Smooch, but he had gone by the user name Agonal, a medical reference which as a senior ward sister she recognised. He also had different photos, even though the rest of the key information was the same. She later saw him on the same site, but he’d changed his username to Soujourn and his photos had changed. He tried to justify his new wearing of glasses by saying his mum persuaded him to get an eye test, but he was too vain to get glasses. The glasses later became part of his spiel to both D and I, the boy with the ‘disabled eyes’.

 She knew Seb was a ‘good Catholic boy’, who taught at a Catholic school and who had been recently promoted to Deputy Head, and bragged about having his name on a plaque on the door, despite not being able to provide photographic evidence. They would also play Scrabble, and he’d send her pictures of chocolate Scrabble letters spelling out messages of love.

Rachel, herself a nurse,  had been spun the same lies about Seb’s dead ex, although in her version of events the ex was called Ali. She knew about his niece, Tilly, who had been born to Amy on 1st September 2010. He had even rung her from the hospital to tell her the news. Seb would send her many pictures to back up his anecdotes, as well as pictures of his dinners, and later on, also some sexually explicit ones. Rachel had the same number for Seb as the rest of us, but also had a phone number for his sister Amy, 0785* *** 612. 

Their first date was cancelled because his grandfather, known affectionately as ‘the War Hero’, had been taken to hospital, and he later died. Another date was cancelled because Seb had to return to Bristol to testify in a child abuse case from a disclosure at his former school.  He had called Rachel from the hotel on his lunch breaks to tell her about the case. The excuses for not meeting just kept on coming, a flooding at his parents property (and having to rescue the disabled tenant), his sister having a baby, problems with Josh and his wife, and counselling sessions to get over his ex.

As she grew increasingly suspicious about these cancellations she tried to find evidence these events took place – no court records of a child abuse case in the Bristol area, no obituary or record of a funeral for his grandfather in Tenby, nothing at all.

Rachel and Seb had a break from October 2010 – December 2010 after Seb manufactured a mammoth falling out. When he tried to patch things up with her, he slipped up by calling his dead ex Laura and not Ali, which Rachel picked up on. In previous stories he’d told Rachel, Laura had been another ex, a radiographer, who had cheated on him. Rachel and Seb were then ‘together’  until June 2011.

Rachel says Seb controlled her life for 9 months. During this time he fluctuated wildly between being loving and affectionate to aggressive and suspicious.  He claimed to have bought her perfumes, flowers and other gifts which never emerged. He accused her of cheating, and tried to frighten her by saying that his policeman brother Josh had run a search on her to find out about her infidelities. It's enough to scare the shit out of anyone. It is emotional abuse. And this is the sickest, lowest thing Seb had done to date...

Then only 2 months ago a fifth victim of Sebastian Pritchard-Jones got in contact.

Ali’s story
Yes, Ali - the name of Seb's dead ex in his version of events with Rachel. Ali got in touch with me on 14th September 2012 after Seb had tried getting back in touch with her via Skype. They had been in a relationship from January 2010 until November 2010. Ali had been so destroyed by Seb, she moved abroad and had to seek counselling as a result. And her Seb, once again, looked totally different, but the backstory was the same.

***photo since removed after tracking down the original subject***

Ali had met Seb through Guardian Soulmates, under the username SebPJ in January 2010. 

Once again, the key information was almost identical, sister was Amy who had a daughter called Tilly. He had an older brother called Gary who was a policeman, both his parents were teachers and his mum was called Patricia. He grew up in Tenby, his birthday was April 18th and his friend Steve (Lewis?) was a dentist. His best friend 'Phillip'  was disabled. Seb also claimed to have a medical condition called Addison’s Disease.

The first time Ali was due to meet Seb, he broke his leg whilst playing at a charity football match. As with the rest of his other victims, they would text all day and speak for hours every night. Three weeks later, they were due to meet, but Ali discovered he had given her a false address. He turned his phone off for 3 days and then called her back drunk in tears about his dead wife Laura (not girlfriend). By this point, Ali was smitten, they’d speak until midnight every night, and would sleep with their phones by their pillows as if they were sleeping in the same bed. On Saturdays, they had a routine of picking horses together and placing bets. She also knew about the 4 bedroom house in Marylebone, the art classes, the photography, and the inheritance. They also spoke about the future, and he called her the Future Mrs Pritchard-Jones. She knew him to live off Boswell Street / Balcombe Street, he was a member of 5 Cavendish Square and Wentworth Golf Club.

Whilst they were together, Seb had ongoing issues related to his ex Laura, and Ali said she’d stand by him through therapy. Laura had apparently told Seb she never wanted him to have another woman.
Seb would frequently send Ali gifts, cash with a hand-written note and flowers. He also claimed to have bought her jewellery and clothes, but they never materialised. He also paid for taxis to take her to places, and claimed to have added her to his bank account, although once again that never materialised. Once he transferred a sum of money to her, but the money came from an account under the name of Amy in April 2010.  Seb said he’d had fraud committed on his account, so he’d had to use his sister’s. Then after sending her the gifts,  if Ali didn’t appear grateful enough he’d call her selfish and ungrateful, yet another way to exert power over her.

After 4 months of his supposed therapy, they were due to meet up. His family were away in Jamaica at the time, but because of his broken leg, Seb couldn’t go. The family were stuck out there due to the volcanic ash debacle, so when they final returned, Ali and Seb were meant to go and meet his parents together. She woke up at 5am to go to the airport, tried to ring him but his phone was off and she was heart-broken. He didn’t contact her for 2 weeks, and when he did it was to accuse her of being unfaithful and claiming he had proof. By this time, May 2010, things had got back on track, but Ali knew she was never going to meet him.

In June 2010, behind Seb’s back, Ali decided to move to Sydney for good to get away from him. In July 2010, Ali ran the London 10k race, and Seb frightened her by saying he’d seen her there.
Throughout their relationship, Seb was very controlling and jealous. He stopped Ali going out, would tell her he didn’t like the clothes she was wearing and would punish her by putting her in the ‘naughty corner’. He also said he would killer her if anyone else had her.

Ali left for Sydney on 9th November 2010. 45 minutes before she boarded the plane, Seb rang her to give her one last chance to tell him the truth about cheating on him, because he claimed he had her followed and had photographic evidence. She had been on a date in the latter months, and there was something about  the way he phrased it made her think he really did know.

Once Ali was in Sydney, she had very little contact with Seb. He said he’d booked a ticket to go out to Australia to ‘get her’, but of course he never turned up.

So there you have it - Sebastian Pritchard-Jones has worked his sick fucking magic on at least six innocent people. Of course, it won't end there. And it hasn't.                                                                                                                      


Ali got in touch with me because totally out of the blue, because Seb had got back in contact via Skype trying to wheedle his way back into her life. He'd threatened to go to Australia to find her, but was trying to make her jealous by telling her about the new love of his life, Liz, who by all accounts is either yet another one of his victims or, most probably, is a figment of his fucked up imagination. He sent her pictures of himself allegedly with his new girlfriend Liz. Yet more stolen photos of unsuspecting people.

Since Ali got in touch, her Rachel and I have been emailing regularly, sharing all the photos and information we have to try and find out more about who the hell this 'thing' is. Ali also has a massive dossier of photos illustrating all of Seb's alleged family and friends. 

Interestingly in one of Ali's photographs she spotted that not one but both of their Seb's were in the same photo. These guys were obviously friends.

***photo since removed after tracking down the original subject***

Ali has a number of group shots featuring her Seb, and we need to find out who this guy is as there's no way he can know that one of his 'friends' is using his image, personal parts of his own life to groom and abuse women.

Another really major area of concern with me is that of 'Phillip'.  This is obviously a very poorly man whose photos are being callously used to curry sympathy for someone for the vilest reasons possible. We have accumulated a number of photos of 'Phillip'  that Seb has been sending around various women and it's not right. The person behind this sickery must have contact or access to him, and his family and carers need to know about it. It chills me to the bone that someone is using someone like this for such ill means, but unfortunately this is the only way I can let people know about it.

So there you go, Sebastian Pritchard-Jones strikes again. Someone out there must recognise people in these pictures. Someone out there must have heard these stories before. I always had my reservations that the internet harboured a whole load of weird, and this is one pretty bloody good example. This creature is stealing lives, weaving lies and doing a whole lot of emotional harm. But who's to say he'll stop there? Please help us find him. Email this article to everyone you know, tweet it, slap it all over your Facebook and help us stop this mind-fuckery before more people get hurt.

And if you have heard any of these stories before, if you've been a victim of this serial nutjob or know anyone in any of these pictures, please please email me. I don't believe for one minute any of these innocent people shown in these pictures know about or would ever consent to them being used in the manner with which they are, and I want to do everything I can to stop any more people getting hurt by what appears to be a very sick and very sad individual.

Until next time readers...and mark my words, there will be a next time...

29 July 2012

Mr #52 - The Great Dane

The preamble:
I don't actually need to tell you an awful lot about the preamble leading up to Mr 52 - The Great Dane, because you guys chose him yourself by public vote. A friend of his had originally suggested he got in touch and put himself forward to be Mr 52, and fast forward a month or so and the prospect of me actually hopping on a plane and popping over to Denmark became very real indeed. But as promised, we chose a date, I booked my tickets, and waited for the day to roll around. 

In the interim we'd bonded over our mutual love of Eddie Izzard, cheese, Tim Minchin, cake, turning Disney films into grammar lessons, the possibility of time travel, meteoromancy, Douglas Adams,a gallbladder called Merv and bacon, so I was pretty convinced we'd be able to find something to talk about on the date. Brace yourself for an epic write up of an epic date...

The man:
Age: 27
Profession: Computer games designer
Random factoid: He is a full time resident of Copenhagen and the final date in my year-long challenge of 52 First Dates. I know that's not so much of a random factoid, but it's certainly a title worthy of some sort of a badge, at least. 

The date:
The date for me started at a rather antisocial 5am yesterday, made even more so thanks to the fact that the entire nation had been up partying the night away because of the Olympic ceremony, and after all the fireworks had stopped I managed to only grab 4 hours sleep. But as is always the way on a big day, I was literally cast out of bed by an imaginary poltergeist and thrown into the shower before I had a chance to contemplate whether I was hungover or not. 

Two Tube rides and a train journey later, I was at Gatwick, on my own, passport in hand, thinking 'what the fuck am I doing?'. But I knew what I was doing. I was about to get on a plane to fly to a country I'd never been to before, where I didn't know a word of the native language, to go on a date with a boy I'd never even spoken to. It was either the coolest thing I'd ever done, or the craziest. Perhaps a mixture of both. I won't lie, I was bricking it. The pressure was on. Not only was there the geographical pressure, but the fact this was the final date in my epic quest was also in the forefront of my mind. I also really wanted it to go well, to end the blog on a high, although I suspected whatever that outcome was, Mr 52 and I would get on. One slightly nervous phone call to my mum later, and it was time to get on the plane. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Cue some photos to illustrate aeroplane travel:

Fast forward 2 hours and I'm setting foot in Denmark. On checking my phone, I saw that The Great Dane had sent me an email and it seemed he was equally in denial about what was about to happen too - certainly I don't think either of us thought when he sent me that very first email 6 or so weeks earlier that I'd actually end up on his nation's doorstep knocking to see if he wanted to come out and play. 

We were both excited and terrified in equal measure, but certainly for me it was absolutely the right thing to do, both for myself and for the blog. The last date deserved to be something a little bit special. And you readers decided international travel was what it needed. My fear of flying and I thank you greatly. 

I'll tell you now, as I walked through those arrival gates my heart was in my mouth. That morbid fear of the unknown date that first prompted me to set about 52 First Dates had made a surprising cameo appearance, and I was terrified. But as soon as I clapped eyes on The Great Dane and he was exactly as I had imagined, it evaporated into the hot Danish air. He was very tall, handsome and smiley, and I wouldn't mind betting partially in shock that I'd actually turned up. Greetings were swift, and we headed off to the Metro to find our way into town for the date.

As a Londoner, I expect public transport everywhere else in the world to be equally as nightmarish - a thousand different lines, sweltering heat, and being trapped in the armpits of a sweaty stranger. In Copenhagen, they have only two lines. Just two. Even I couldn't get lost here! Actually I probably could, given that it turns out Danish words sound nothing remotely like the way they're written to a native English speaker, but more on that later. And luckily there were no sweaty armpits to get stuck into, although it was really rather warm, and I was trying my best to chat to The Great Dane without looking like my make up was sliding off my face withing the first 10 minutes of our meeting. 

When he'd first written to me, he'd mentioned that he was very shy, and when faced with a strange little English girl, that shyness decided to take a trip on the Metro with us. It's obviously very easy for me to be vocal about my pre-date nerves, since I've been on more dates than lots of people have had hot dinners, but I always forget how it must feel for the other person, particularly when their date has flown nearly 1000km to go and see them. But we chatted on nonetheless, mostly me honking on about the Olympics opening ceremony from the night before, and how random it was that I'd actually turned up.

Our first port of call was an area of Copenhagen called Christiantown (and I apologise in advance to any Danish readers who might spot glaring mistakes in my spelling etc - I'm not sure how I'll get some of your linguistic symbols in here yet so it may be a bit of a challenge). Christiantown is a sort of independent hippy commune slash nature reserve in the centre of town where there's a green light area for marijuana, lots of shrubbery, lots of water, and an awesome collection of houses hand-built by their owners. Imagine Occupy London, but with less attitude, greater commitment and much better architectural skills.

We wandered around for a good hour or so in the baking heat, watching the locals potter around on their bicycles, seeing dragonflies go about their business, errant golf carts and the teeny tiniest frog I've ever seen in my life scamper off into the undergrowth. The Great Dane was in full tour guide mode, which I think must've taken a lot of the 'date' pressure off, and he did an exceptionally good job too of showing me all the key landmarks, telling me about the local history, before we drifted off into the territory of dubbing foreign films, Disney, property prices, and how best to avoid untimely death. 

The highlights of this part of the day for me were the little frog, watching The Great Dane leap around  the pathway to avoid squishing the many snails that had come out to join us en route, and spotting a really cool table and chairs, complete with tea set that had been set up in the middle of the water for the ducks to sit on.

Pretty soon our nature reserve yomp had given us quite a thirst, so we sat in the sun outside a refreshments shack in Christiantown sipping on an icy cold cola and watching the locals go about their business. As a little gift, I'd brought along a copy of Douglas Adams' The Deeper Meaning of Liff which I knew he'd never read, plus a tiny knitted Apple Mac computer I'd made, and we sat chuckling over the definition of Twomileborris (noun): A popular East European outdoor game in which the first person to reach the front of the meat queue wins, and the losers have to forfeit their bath plugs. 

Once the drinks had been quaffed, we set sail again to have a wander into the main part of town. It turns out, Copenhagen has a shed load of churches and a shed load of theatres. The Great Dane's knowledge of his hometown was exceptional, but my favourite parts of the tour were the things that probably weren't on the usual tours: where he works, a street affectionately known as 'the Piss Street', and the statues of famous Danes outside the university that he had no idea who they were, but guessed their profession by their haircut.

He was noticeably more relaxed, and I finally felt like I wasn't terrifying him any longer by being a foreign visitor. And what made me feel even more at home was someone had kindly gone and grafittied my initials about the place which made me feel even more welcome. How very kind.

We gradually headed further into town where The Great Dane had decided we'd have lunch. His chosen venue? The Royal Cafe. This place is awesome. A traditional Danish dish is smørrebrød, which is a sort of open sandwich, but at the Royal Cafe, they give it 'a contemporary sushi twist', and call is 'smushi'. They're in delightfully small portions, so you choose a few different dishes as you would in a sushi restaurant. It's impossible not to love smushi based on the name alone. But you'd love it even more when it comes out to the table. Cue photo of food porn (my crap BlackBerry camera clearly didn't do these justice)... 

From left to right, I chose a potato and smoked cream cheese smushi on a round little rye bread with radishes, asparagus and little fresh beansprouty type things, a wafer thin marinated beef smushi on a slice of tomato and rye break with wasabi cream, onion slivers and a caperberry, and a puff pastry triangle with a creamy chicken salad smushi with peas, carrot ribbons and more beansprouty business. And it was all beautifully served on a tile made by the pottery company next door. It was exceptional. I've never eaten anything so beautiful (and tasty, of course!) in my life. 

We sat outside in this cobbled courtyard, neither of us wanting to destroy these little edible works of art, mulling over whether it would be practical to live in a hexagonal tower (part of this awesome building next door, testing out regional accents (he does a very convincing Australian) and staring in awe at the beard that must've taken the waiter about 3 years to cultivate. Soon enough, the smushis had mysterious vanished and coincidentally our bellies had burgeoned, and it was onwards with the tour.

Lots of churches, theatres, funny little back streets and local trivia later, we'd started to walk off our smushi-tums. The Great Dane took great pleasure in trying to get my to try and pronounce all these long place names which I was ashamedly utterly crap at, but it was funny having a go anyway. I don't think I've ever encountered a language where I've literally not had any clue where to start, as normally I'm pretty good at picking up the odd foreign word or phrase. The best I could do was try the Danish word 'hygglig', which is a fundamental aspect of Danish culture, and the Danish word for Gummibears, 'Bubbi Bjørnene'. You can listen to the theme tune sung in Danish here. 

Time was ticking on, and The Great Dane was determined to take me for cake before I had to get my flight, since we'd spent an awful lot of our preamble talking about sweet treats. So we arrived at La Glace, and then bamboozled ourselves with the menu. I've never seen cakes like it, and their macaroons were absolutely beautiful. I'm kicking myself for not taking more photos, but their website shows them much better than I ever could. Sadly for us, we'd arrived 5 minutes before closing, so we had to buy to take away, but bought we did! I went for the Othellokage and The Great Dane went for the Æblekage

Cake in hand (but without cutlery which in hindsight was an error), we grabbed some iced coffee slash slushy drinks and went to find somewhere outside to eat. And, as if on cue, it started to rain. Brilliant. We wandered through the streets of Copenhagen half on the hunt for somewhere to sit and half on the hunt for free plastic cutlery. The Great Dane struck gold by half-inching some of the tiniest plastic spoons I've ever seen from a nearby ice cream vendor, and eventually we made it back to the canal lock where it had stopped raining, but the wind had taken up the helm instead. Try eating custardy cake in the wind with long hair and it's neither easy nor sexy.  But needless to say it was pretty awesome eating Copenhagen's finest baked offerings watching tour boats waft on by. 

The Great Dane had long-dispensed with the sensible tour information by this point, and instead was telling me how actually we were sat by the River Styx, and when the tourists pay the ferryman, he takes them to the end of the canal whereby the entire boat plunges into Hell, and to be frank I much prefer his version of events.

Sadly time was not on our side, and the prospect of a return flight to London was ever more pressing, so we hopped back on the Metro and headed back plane-wards. The Great Dane spent the entire journey back trying to explain to me the ticket system for the Metro, which I was apparently totally incapable of comprehending, either because a. I was borderline delirious from lack of sleep or b. because I was an utter moron. 

Once back at the airport, and I'd successfully misread every single Danish sign en route and finally managed how to work the self check in system, it was time to say goodbye. We had a hug at the bottom of the escalator, and I wandered off to security. The minute I'd gone through the gates that you can't get back through I was immediately stung with regret that I'd not suggested we went for a beer at the airport to round off what had been a really wonderful day. 

Suddenly I was on my own again at the terminal, exhausted after a day's travel and touring, and I started to feel rather tired and emotional. This was it, the end of 52 First Dates. I'm embarrassed to admit I shed a few tears whilst sat cuddling a 1kg bad of Daim Bars I'd irrationally bought to try and use up some Danish Krone, and I can't really tell you why I did. I checked my phone again and the response I'd already been getting through texts and tweets and Facebook told me there were lots of people around the world who'd been waiting for news on the date, and rather cruelly didn't tell them very much other than the fact I was back at the airport again.

One eventful flight featuring some free white wine and a woman with a broken arm later and I was back in Blighty. And finally, after four tube ride, two flights, two Metro journeys and a bus ride, 17 hours after I'd left home, I was back there again. Shattered, emotional, but happy.

Memorable Quotes:
There were loads throughout the whole date, but I can't remember them off the top of my head. But this was the first date ever where I'd not taken a single note at the time.

Events of note:
Too many to mention - smushis, frogs, cake, canals, flights, I mean, you've read this far...

The verdict:
So here it is, the moment you've all been waiting for. The verdict on Mr #52, The Great Dane, the final date of my epic 52 First Dates quest. Yes, we will hopefully see each other again, we've already mentioned the possibility of him popping over to London so I can try and play tour guide in return, so we'll just have to wait and see. 

As for romance? Who knows. I think maybe I spoilt that a little bit by the very nature of the date - me flying in from another country for the day and relying on some poor guy to impress me with his hometown as well as himself. 

In some ways, the tour element will have been a welcome distraction to the 'date' factor, but in other ways it may have been a bit of a hindrance. I really don't know. This distance thing is a real bugger to be honest, it's not like he lives just down the road, and we can pop out for a few more nights and see how it goes, it has to be a lot more contrived than that, and that's the unknown quantity. 

What I do know is Copenhagen is a really awesome city, and The Great Dane lived up to his name, a really awesome guy. This, for me, is a very happy ending to a very long year. Watch this space.

As a further note, I have to say I can't believe 52 First Dates is finally over. Fuck! Over the last 13 months or so, I've been on 52 dates with 52 completely different men. I won't lie, it's not been easy. Sometimes it's been scary, sometimes it's been weird, sometimes it's been fun. But now it's over I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. Do I celebrate? Do I comiserate? I honestly don't know. But what I do know, and I'm teary as I type, is I need to thank you all for sticking with me along this journey. It's genuinely been a life-changing experience for me and I don't regret a single minute of it. But I wouldn't have been able to do it without the kind words of encouragement that my wonderful virtual friends...have sent me every step of the way. It's been a wonderful assurance knowing that so many of you have been living these experiences with me, and hopefully enjoying them. Honestly, that means the world. So from the bottom of my heart I thank you. for reading, and I thank you for chosing such a wonderful 52nd date for me. I already have plans with what will happen to 52 First Dates away from here, but in terms of this blog I hope to carry on writing in some form or other, so you won't have heard the last of me yet. Sorry about that.

Thank you


16 July 2012

And the winner is...

So that's it. The lines have been closed, the votes have been individually counted and verified, and I can now reveal that the identity of Mr #52 is (drum roll please...)

Mr #52A - The Great Dane!

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who voted for your favourite, and more especially, to the five very game gentlemen who allowed me to put them up for the final vote. It was actually a pretty closely run battle, the leader changed a couple of times, and at the end there were only 20 votes in it. But many congratulations to The Great Dane, and good may need it!

Stay tune for further updates! Now, where did I leave my passport...

11 July 2012

Mr #52 - The Final Five

So, this is it folks. A month ago I put a rather pitiful message out to the internet appealing for potential candidates to be the final date in my 52 First Dates challenge because, quite frankly, I would really love  a happy ending to the blog, and I’d been doing a pretty rubbish job of finding decent men online. And you’ll never guess what...I actually got some responses! From nice guys! I know, you’re probably as shocked as I am! But delighted nonetheless. 

Anyway, over the last few weeks, I’ve been emailing back and forth, and finally I’ve been able to narrow them down to these five chaps below. And for the record, I would love to go on a date with each and every one of them. But there can be only one. To protect their identity, I’ve given them each a pseudonym, and there are no photos here, because that’s not what it’s about. Let me introduce them to you, and why I wanted them to be in my final five *cue some sort of dramatic Apprentice-style music in my mind*

Mr 52A – aka The Great Dane

The Great Dane and I initially bonded over a mutual love of Eddie Izzard, why cheese is the best thing ever, how Disney can be used to teach grammar, and irresponsibly long hash tags. He’s 27, works as a software developer, and lives in the glorious city of Copenhagen. He has an awesome sense of humour, the capacity to endure 11 days at a festival without dying of alcohol poisoning, sunstroke or cholera, a command of the English language that puts most of us native speakers to shame, and he looks excellent in sunglasses. He can also bake.

Mr 52I – aka Not So Keane

Not So Keane and I first hit it off over comedy typos, why cucumber and celery should be made illegal, the merits and pitfalls of a Pret crack-mayo addiction, but most of all, of our mutual hatred of Keane. He’s 33, works as a draughtsman mapping the new sewer system under the Thames and is a fellow resident of London town. He too has an excellent sense of humour (you’ll see a theme developing here), an awesome appreciation of food programmes and is only ever photographed in multiples of four.

Mr 52J – aka Twinkletoes

Twinkletoes and I have actually been in touch on and off for the last 6 months or so, and we were at some point meant to go on a date, but this never really happened. Twinkletoes caught my attention largely because he calls me Twinkletoes with no obvious regret, but mainly because he has a maturity level similar to myself (chuckles at rude-shaped fruit), we like the same music and he can move his eyebrows independently. Twinkletoes is 26, an IT Project Manager who I believe might still live with his mum, although I can’t quite remember. He’s also a cheeky chappy and an ardent royalist who tries to curry sympathy by diagnosing himself with brittle bones.

Mr 52K – aka Lethal Brizzle

Lethal Brizzle first caught my attention when he sent me a link to his dating profile and I read the words ‘handy with a screw driver’. There are, of course, other redeeming features, such as similar tastes in music, the ability to sport a beard with aplomb, and the fact he offered to bring Fruit Pastilles on a first date. He’s a 29 year old ‘IT professional’ (I still don’t know what that means, you do computer shit, right?) who resides in the charming city of Bristol. Why did I like him? He is introduced as ‘the infamous Lethal Brizzle’ at weddings, occasionally wears hi-vis, and has been known to use his shoes as a pillow.

Mr 52O –aka Captain C-Diff

Captain C-Diff first wrote to me recommendation from a friend of his, and what struck me about him was his delightful inability to monitor his inner monologue, our mutual adoration of Elf and his love of writing (which, luckily for him, happens to also be his job). He is a 35 year old copywriter from Cardiff (hence his pseudonym, he’s definitely not a potentially lethal virus to the best of my knowledge) who calls his best friend his boyfriend and ranks St Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion) as his all time favourite power ballad. When he’s not writing things, he also sends random girls infographics about malted milk biscuits over the internet.

So who should I go on a date with? Now, and rather tentatively I do so, I’m handing it over to you to cast your vote. You can choose who you’d like to be Mr #52 up until midnight on Sunday  15th July (I’m not sure why then exactly, but most of these things seem to end at a midnight on a Sunday, so I may as well follow suit) and I’ll let you all know who the (un)lucky fellow is next week. So what are you waiting for? Cast your votes.....NOW! <--- there's a link under the word NOW, just in case you missed it. People do sometimes, especially when the word is so short. Probably should've thought that through earlier. Probably shouldn't be dwelling on it so much)