Wedding planner, 44, who fleeced 24 couples, her own boyfriend and ex-husband out of £60,200 only has £600 to her name – and will pay one victim £1.74
A wedding planner who fleeced 24 couples, an ex-husband and her own boyfriend out of more than £60,000 now has only £600 to her name.
Dana Twidale, 44, has to repay one victim just £1.74 after scamming brides and bridegrooms across Yorkshire out of their wedding savings between August 2017 and July 2019.
She fled to Benidorm when she was finally exposed and was pictured sunning herself while victims tried desperately to rescue their wedding ceremonies.
Twidale, from east Hull, admitted 26 offences of fraud and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Hull Crown Court in July.
The case resurfaced at a Proceeds of Crime hearing on Wednesday, though, where she appeared before court via video link from New Hall Prison, near Wakefield.
Dana Twidale, who wrecked the weddings of 24 couples, has been ordered to repay a pittance after blowing all the money from her scams
Twidale conned multiple brides and grooms out of money before their big days before fleeing the country
Dale Brook, prosecuting, told the court that Twidale had pocketed £60,263 from her scams.
However, he added that assets available to her had been valued at a ‘derisory’ £600 – money frozen in a bank account.
The court heard she also has ‘no home, no address, no car’.
It was a statement to which Judge Mark Bury quipped: “No Lottery wins?’
He added that, if provisional compensation estimates were correct, he would ‘quite like to see the face’ of one woman who might get just ‘£1.74 in the post’ as her compensation.
The £600 figure was already in the possession of police because it is a ‘restrained’ bank account.
Mr Brook asked that the money be used as compensation for the victims.
It is hoped that if Twidale ‘at any future point acquires any wealth’, it may be used to pay further compensation.
The money would be paid not to the court but to the financial investigation team or similar people for it to be apportioned out to victims.
The judge told Twidale that the crime benefit figure was £60,263, but added: ‘You don’t have anywhere near that in assets.
Twidale was pictured sunning herself in Benidorm, Spain, while duped couples tried to recover the money they lost through her scams
‘The only assets the police have been able to identify is £600 in a Nationwide bank account and that money is restrained already and it will be used to satisfy this sum and it will be defrayed as compensation to the victims of your crime.
‘The money is already in the hands of those who need it.’
Twidale will have 28 days to pay the £600 or face seven days in prison in default.
The original court hearing in July heard that victims, including Twidale’s ex-husband, eventually saw her back in Hull after her money dried up.
She was said to have been spotted working in a number of takeaways last year before she was arrested.
Twidale told police she had got into debt with her business and turned to gambling and was ‘chasing her losses’.
The court heard 24 couples paid thousands of pounds of savings to the crooked wedding planner.
When the wedding approached, though, they were horrified to discover empty marquees, and cakes, as well as photographers not having been booked and decorations missing.
The couples who were conned have since spoken of the heartbreak and financial losses they were caused.
Nicky and Jason Asquith said the £2,247 mentioned in court as the amount they had lost was far less than they had ended up paying.
Jason and Nicky Asquith were one of the couples scammed by Twidale. She seemed ‘approachable’ and ‘professional’, according to the couple, but she then vanished, leaving the them with two days to hastily rearrange plans for their wedding
The couple were taken in after spotting online adverts for the company and meeting its boss.
Nicky, 33, an NHS pharmacist, said: ‘I felt like I had known her forever. She was so friendly and lovely – and so helpful.
‘It just shows how deceitful she was. All we wanted was a simple marquee and summer party. We had invited 104 guests. It was going to be really nice.’
The couple, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, had no idea anything was wrong until the eve of the service – when their wedding planner failed to appear at the rehearsal.
Another couple, who paid £550 to Twidale for wedding decorations, also only became aware of the fraud the night before their wedding day.
They were contacted by a photographer who alerted them to the complaints on social media and that Twidale had seemingly fled the area.
The couple described how they were devastated and relied on borrowing money from family members to pay for the services for their wedding.