A MAN has been ordered by a judge to pay £100,000 after swindling a girlfriend.

Iftakhar Akbar borrowed money from Shazia Riaz and led her to believe they would be getting married.

But she later found out he was already married and she says he had used the money to buy a home.

Ms Riaz said Mr Akbar had taken advantage of her vulnerability and kind nature after getting in touch on a dating website and that the legal battle to get her money back had taken two years.

A judge at Leeds County Court ordered him to pay back £67,122.47 that she lent him and also £37,500 on account for costs.

In his judgment Judge Mark Gosnell said: "This is a curious case. It is often submitted by counsel that a witness would not come to court to lie. In this case, every single witness has been accused of lying. The court must inevitably find that one or more actually has lied."

He said Ms Riaz had given evidence that Mr Akbar had told her he was single, a company director, if she lent him money he would pay if back and they would get married after his son completed his GCSEs.

As a result she loaned him £65,480.67 between May 2015 and August 2016 and bought for him jewellery, watches a pen, cufflinks and a computer worth a total of £3,355.80.

Ms Riaz, 46, an immigration lawyer in Manchester, said she first met Mr Akbar through the eHarmony dating website in February 2015.

She said she was isolated from her community and looking for companionship. With the benefit of hindsight, she said he controlled the relationship by determining when they should meet or speak saying he was busy with work or with his children which at the time she did not question.

In a witness statement she said she visited the defendant at his then home in Accrington in the evening a few times but was told to park at the rear and she was asked to enter his home from the rear entrance.

She said she raised a loan on her property to pay him £25,000 in 2015 so that he could meet a tax demand from HMRC and made further payments totalling £23,000 to help him pay off further debts.

Among other payments she said she made was £175 for a sacrifice of a black goat in Pakistan because he had told her that she had black magic on her.

She added: "Had the defendant told me the truth of his marital position, and had I not been in such a vulnerable position at the time as we had not been in a relationship I would not have lent him the money. He took advantage of my vulnerability and saw a financial advantage and lie and gained a financial advantage."

Mr Akbar, of Ghyllwood Drive, Bingley, gave evidence that the money given to him by Ms Riaz was a result of business dealings and he had no romance with her.

He accepted he had never been a company director. He says he was divorced in 2013 and started a new relationship in September 2015 which resulted in his remarriage.

Judge Gosnell said in his judgment: "I find as a fact that the defendant behaved as if he was in a romantic relationship with the claimant and used that trust and affection on the claimant’s part to extract money from her.

"I have found that the claimant was induced to lend money to the defendant by his representations that he was single, a company director who wanted to marry the claimant and would repay her in full. These representations which the defendant made were untruthful and the defendant must have known that they were untruthful when he made them."

Ms Riaz said after the case: “For over two years I have battled for justice and the road has not been an easy one. Mr Akbar took advantage of my vulnerability when I was at my lowest and he took advantage of my kind and loving nature. I thought I was in a relationship with a man who was going to be there for me and stand by me. Little did I know this man had a wife in Yorkshire and used my money to fund his lavish lifestyle.

“There have been times through these two years I have not been able to cope.

“But with my amazing friend and support, and my super barrister John Miller, justice has been served.

“I urge women who are or have been victims of coercive control and fraud to come forward and report it. The truth always prevails and do not be ashamed of making the wrong choices, as you should not be the one that should be ashamed.

“I hope Mr Akbar now does the right thing and pays back what is due to me and let’s me carry my life on and does not repeat his fraudulent schemes again.”

Mr Akbar was contacted for a comment but had not been in touch by the time the T&A went to press.