When Claire met who she thought was a jet-setting Ibiza DJ she was whisked off her feet.
James McNamara – or DJ Sneak as he also went by – treated her to the ‘best’ ten days of her life, including dinners at The Ivy and trips to see her in his private jet.
But unknown to the 43-year-old single mother, she would in fact become Cieran McNamara’s final victim.
McNamara, 37, the serial romance love rat who used a string of false identities to dupe unsuspecting women out of £300,000, was jailed for seven years on Tuesday.
He posed as a barrister, company director and even a pilot to target vulnerable, single women on dating apps and in exclusive hotels and clubs.
Now, Claire, not her real name, has shared her story exclusively with MailOnline – including the grovelling love note that he sent her from prison.
Claire had a whirlwind romance with Cieran McNamara, who was posing as a DJ called James
McNamara posed as a successful DJ in Ibiza – going by the name of ‘DJ Sneak’
A screen grab from the video that McNamara sent Claire claiming he was DJ in Ibiza
McNamara was jailed for seven years at Chester Crown Court after he previously pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation
The pair met on Bumble at the beginning of September 2023 with McNamara claiming he was a world-wide DJ currently based in Ibiza.
Not long after, he said he would jet over from the Spanish island to meet her, and the couple’s whirlwind romance began.
Claire said: ‘Our chats on Bumble quickly moved over on to Whatsapp and before I knew it, he was saying that he couldn’t wait to see me.
‘He certainly was a charmer and knew all the right things to say. We got on really well – almost too well.
‘He came across as the most amazing guy – I can really understand why all these women thought they had met their “Prince Charming”.
‘For two weeks he “wined and dined” me – brunches, champagne, everything!’
He also promised to buy Claire a flat in Canary Wharf as he had an extensive property portfolio in London and kept spoiling her with £500 Marks & Spencer vouchers.
She said: ‘He kept saying that he wanted me to be financially secure.
‘At the end of the day I opened him up to my world and I really trusted him.’
But suddenly McNamara went quiet.
For a few days, Claire heard nothing but then she received a letter. A letter from HMP Altcourse in Liverpool dated September 30.
It read: ‘Sorry I just disappeared – it wasn’t by choice. It appears I have a few outstanding bills totalling £296,000.
‘On Thursday night (September 28) I had a rude awakening by police saying there was a warrant out for my arrest.’
It continued: ‘Nothing has changed in my mind about you and I have missed you and your touch in the last 72 hours.
Claire, not her real name, has bravely decided to tell her story to warn other women of the dangers of online romance fraud
Claire was shocked when McNamara disappeared out of the blue – then she received a letter from HMP Altcourse
Another victim previously came forward to MailOnline, revealing that McNamara had posed as a pilot in another romance con
‘I have been deemed a flight risk to the police based on my comings and goings out of the UK and for that reason I have been remanded in custody until the matter is resolved.’
McNamara had just bought Claire an expensive membership at a wellness club in London and she was suddenly left with a £1,000 bill.
Looking back, Claire said there were a few red flags – but nothing that immediately raised her suspicions.
‘He would insist on going up to pay the bill and he also always had two phones on him – but I just thought he was a busy businessman,’ she said.
Claire’s story comes after five different women – claiming they have also been victims of McNamara – approached MailOnline.
Danielle – not her real name – was conned out of £3,200 by the 37-year-old in 2022 after he posed as a high-flying barrister.
The 40-year-old single mother from Birmingham fell for the love rat after he claimed that he too was going through a painful divorce.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline on Wednesday, she said: ‘It was all about building trust at first. He would listen all about my life, and be empathetic, supportive and caring.
‘We would do video calls and he would make me feel wanted, beautiful – he exploited the insecurities that his victims had. He was very manipulative.’
‘He would use things that I had said about my life and twist them to fit his life. He told me he was going through a divorce – like he knew I had done.’
But in April 2022, the dynamic of their relationship slowly started to change. Then the web of lies surrounding money started.
McNamara first contacted Danielle claiming to be in ‘a bit of a situation’, that he had been mugged and desperately needed cash to get the train home.
The serial fraudster posed as a barrister, luxury property developer and entrepreneur to women he was trying to con
McNamara, 37, from Coventry, preyed on women while visiting exclusive hotels and clubs
What started with £20 here and £30 there soon snowballed – and within the space of a month Christian owed Danielle more than £3,200.
She said: ‘He caught me at a very vulnerable time when my sister was ill in hospital. I had just come out of a long-term relationship. He took advantage of my kind nature.’
At one point, she was forced to cancel her daughter’s birthday party because she couldn’t afford it.
Danielle continued: ‘He came up with lots of excuses as to why he couldn’t repay me.
‘It started with he didn’t have a bank card and wanted to give me the money in person and apologised for the inconvenience.
Text exchanges between McNamara and his victim show him refusing to pay her back
After things turned sour, ‘Christian’ sent Danielle pictures of him boasting about how much cash he had
‘As time progressed, he said it was down to an expensive divorce.
‘We arranged to meet six or seven times so he would repay the money in person, but he never showed up.’
Danielle contacted West Midlands Police about McNamara in August 2022, but she was ‘fobbed off’ and told to report the crime to Action Fraud.
She said: ‘I found lots of evidence against him myself and I was ready to give it all to the police… but I was fobbed off.
‘I had two police officers come around to my house when my children were there and say this isn’t fraud. But I knew exactly what it was.
‘The most infuriating thing about this whole situation is that if the police had listened to me then none of this would have happened – those women who did manage to bring charges would never have lost all that money.’
The Mail also revealed on Wednesday that McNamara’s first victim was in fact the grandmother who raised him.
He fleeced Kathleen O’Sullivan out of around £60,000 after repeatedly withdrawing money from her bank account and raiding a wardrobe where she stashed cash at home.
A relative said the fraudster had a ‘remarkable ability to remember long numbers’ which he also used to memorise his grandmother’s bank card numbers – using them to pay for hotels around the country where he lived the high life.
The grandmother took him in because his McNamara’s own mother, who had health problems, could not control him.
But around the same time, the conman also began stealing from the Catholic church where he was taken by Mrs O’Sullivan.
The ‘horrified’ pensioner only discovered what was happening at her beloved church in Binley, Coventry, when the priest came around to tell her that McNamara, one of the altar boys at the church, had been caught helping himself to the contents of the collection box.
The grandmother took him in because his McNamara’s own mother, who had health problems, could not control him. He fleeced Kathleen O’Sullivan out of around £60,000
Only child McNamara (pictured age 15) grew up in Coventry, where his half-Polish mother, Christine Ostrowski, almost died giving birth to him
McNamara, from Coventry, Warwickshire was eventually arrested in Colchester following an investigation by Cheshire Police in September 2023.
Over a 12-month period from September 2022, McNamara managed to manipulate four victims in Cheshire, Warwickshire and Hertfordshire to hand over more than £302,000.
This was more than a month after Danielle reported him to police.
McNamara was subsequently charged with four counts of fraud by false representation.
Following his arrest officers raided a lock-up being rented by McNamara where they recovered approximately £19,500 worth of brand new goods – including a £1,900 Burberry coat, a £400 Burberry Scarf, Dubarry boots, Gucci trainers and a Ping golf set.
Sentencing him to seven years in prison on Tuesday, Judge Simon Berkson said McNamara’s criminal record was a significant aggravating factor, with many similar offences in the past.
Detective Constable Victoria Hazlewood, of Cheshire Police, who led the investigation, said: ‘McNamara is a serial fraudster, and I truly believe that he cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy.
‘During our investigation, we uncovered a web of lies with thousands of text messages which he sent to his victims in order to extort cash to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Over a 12 month period from September 2022, McNamara managed to manipulate four victims in Cheshire, Warwickshire and Hertfordshire to hand over more than £302,000
McNamara, 37, was jailed on Tuesday for using a string of false identities to target wealthy singletons online or by visiting exclusive hotels and clubs and con them out of money
Danielle – not her real name – was conned out of £3,200 by the 37-year-old in 2022 after he posed as a high-flying barrister
The fraudster was arrested in Colchester on September 28 last year as a result of an investigation by the Cheshire Constabulary Economic Crime Unit
‘He convinced his victims that he was a millionaire with properties across the country, but in reality, he was unemployed and living out of suitcase.
‘McNamara identified ways he could control and manipulate his victims and throughout the investigation, he has shown no remorse for his actions.
‘He truly believed that he would never be caught by police and that he would never be held accountable for his despicable behaviour.
‘Thankfully, because of the courage and bravery of his victims, and the work of the team here in the economic crime unit at Cheshire Constabulary, McNamara was left with no option other than to admit his guilt.
‘While he is now behind bars, I have no doubt that there are other victims across the country who have been treated in the same way and I would encourage them to come forward.
‘If you believe that you have been targeted by a romance fraudster, or you believe somebody close to you has been targeted, then please contact Action Fraud so you can begin to get the necessary support and prevent other people from becoming victims.’
Efforts to locate other assets belonging to McNamara remain ongoing and all the items recovered will be subject to a proceeds of crime hearing.