Hendy-Freegard revisited

Robert Hendy-Freegard is very clearly a total bastard. He’s also a thief. The concept that he’s a kidnapper who deserves a life sentence, however, is absolute bullshit.

Falling in love with someone inappropriate is not something from which the law should protect you, unless you’re a child or mentally incapable. If your partner wishes to pretend they’re a spy, send you on bizarre errands and make you behave in an incredibly strange fashion, then he’s clearly a weirdo, and you should clearly dump him.

However, the idea that such a man is a Dangerous Threat who needs to be Put Away Forever is pathetic. Worse, it’s infantile: "ooh, that man did bad things, let’s punish him", ignoring the fact that his ‘victims’ were consenting adults.

SBBS’s key maxim is the Right To Fuck Up Your Own Life Through Your Own Utter Stupidity. This applies admirably to Mr Hendy-Freegard’s case.

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20 thoughts on “Hendy-Freegard revisited

  1. I think you’re way off-base here, John. First, he’s obviously a very dangerous and unusual individual who has wrecked a good portion of the lives of his victims. Whether that merits life or merely, say 30 years, is something I don’t have a strong opinion on. Second, the SBBS key maxim is bollocks that could be taken straight from Samzidata. If you ever break your neck hangliding (or whatever) and end up in a wheelchair I take it you’ll be supporting yourself and paying your own medical bills then? Personally, I’m all in favour of trying to help stupid people not fuck up their lives through stupidity and then of helping them unfuck-up their lives when they do.

  2. So you think pyramid schemes should be legal then John? I’m quite comfortable with using the force of law to stop their promoters fleecing the stupid. Aren’t you?

  3. I would agree with Chris on this, but I get the same feeling I get when watching Watchdog. I want to grab the presenters and shout at them, "these ‘rogues’ are the heroes of capitalism – they can successfully sell bad things for lots of money!" I am happy to stop pyramd scheme promoters using the full force of the law, as I am people who sell old ladies burgular alarms for thousands of pounds. But I think we should extend this principle to all salesmanship. If an advertisement successfully convinces some people to think (which could be studied by using subconscious association tests) that this product will make them successful, or extremely attractive, or that they need this product to avoid social embarassment, or that fast food is part of a healthy diet, and so on, then the ad men should be prosecuted.

    Advertising has its place. It can be used to tell people about the existence of products and what they do/contain. When adverts are used to inculturate a psychological or social need for the product that did not previously exist, then the ad men are just well funded and very clever con men.

    In other words, BAN SUNNY DELIGHT!

  4. I think "don’t get involved with someone who claims to be a spy" is a good maxim to live one’s life by.

    However, I hope this case sets a precedent. Hopefully I can retrospectively deal with the confidence trickster… Sorry, ’employer’ who hoodwinked me into working for them with empty promises like ‘interesting work’, ‘reasonable hours’ and ‘being paid every month’ (that was when the penny dropped).

    Given that I wasted a total of eight months on him, I reckon a similar sentence would be appropriate.

  5. It’s not so easy as using the law to protect the stupid, otherwise there would have been illegal in 1999 to invest in Scoot.com, and I would be £300 better off.

  6. Why would we even need to consider advertising in order to find an argument for banning Sunny Delight? Have you tasted that shit?


    Surely you can sue an employer who failed to pay you every month. Breach of contract, breaking the minimum wage law, and (I imagine) failing to give you advance written notification of each change in (i.e. absence of) your pay. All illegal. Sue the bastard.

    The article makes it clear that Hendy-Freegard’s been done for kidnap by fraud and that’s (a) highly unusual and (b) not quite the same as normal kidnap. Not sure I’d dismiss that out of hand: fraud is stealing, even though the victim gives you the money voluntarily. Saying that what he did to these women shouldn’t be treated as kidnap is akin to saying that any kidapper who’s clever enough to use his brain instead of violence shouldn’t be prosecuted. He convinced a couple of people that they’d be killed if they attempted to leave him. Whether the threat was that he or someone else would kill them seems to me to be a minor detail.

  7. S2, the wages thing was my cue to leave. We were informed on the morning of the opening day of the 1998 World Cup so I wan’t overly fussed – I just left, got drunk and never went back, which left them in an awful pickle!

    Also they were heady times as far as employment opportunities go, so I found myself starting another (much better paid) job within a fortnight.

    You’ll be glad to hear, though, that I did take some rather more ‘direct’ action which certainly satisfied me, but which I probably shouldn’t brag about.

  8. No, you’re having a rare run of bad form here, John, this is your second mistake in two days. What he did, on various occasions, was kidnapping. One might quibble at the length of the sentence, but these people were victims of his dishonesty, not their own stupidity.

  9. Well I’m not going to miss out on a rare opportunity for a bit of Band-bashing.

    John, do you wish to stand up for the rights of old women to fuck up their lives through their own utter stupidity in paying all their savings to an entirely unqualified builder to make their roof more dangerous than it was before?

    I think S2’s got it spot on here, and that "kidnap by fraud" is a very accurate description of this guy’s crimes. He’s clearly got to go down for a while (a) to directly protect the (more credulous members of the) public, and (b) as a deterrent to other sadistic arseholes.

  10. Squander Two: How about going after "Sunny Delight" under the Trades Descriptions Act? It’s pretty far from delightful.

    NIB: I’m intrigued to hear about the "direct action"

    John B: Sorry – I’m with the others. Reading the first case about the guy Hendy-Freegard sent to Manchester to buy a can opener was very funny indeed, and the "victim" didn’t lose anything but his pride. The other cases were sickening, and HF deserves everything he gets.

  11. Jez,

    It’s not sunny, either. How about forcing a name-change to "Lurid Migraine-Trigger"?

    I can’t believe people are agreeing with me. Am I on the right blog?

  12. "..these people were victims of his dishonesty, not their own stupidity."

    No, I think their stupidity played a BIG part in it…!

    While I’m normally an enthusiastic hanger & flogger (slightly to the right of Gengis Khan on crime & punishment) I think what galls here, in this particular case, is that he seems to face a much longer sentence for conning idiots than some other utter psychopaths have got for murdering totally innocent people who did NOT have anything to do with their fate. That’s just wrong..

  13. Julia – yes his victims were gullible and stupid, but he deliberately and sadistically preyed on that fact to exploit them for his own purposes, just as assuredly as cowboy builders prey on old women.

    Anyway if

    what galls here, in this particular case, is that he seems to face a much longer sentence for conning idiots than some other utter psychopaths have got for murdering totally innocent people who did NOT have anything to do with their fate.

    then surely the sensible thing to do is to make sure that the murdering psychos go to prison for long enough, not to cut the prison time of this guy.

    Not that I accept your picture of hoards of mass-murderers roaming the streets after having been let off with a slap on the wrist and a few hours community service, mind you…

  14. "..surely the sensible thing to do is to make sure that the murdering psychos go to prison for long enough"

    Exactly! If this happened, the disconnect between this case & the others wouldn’t be so glaring.

  15. Blindingly obvious point:

    a much longer sentence for conning idiots than some other utter psychopaths have got for murdering totally innocent people

    Since the UK has a mandatory life sentence for murder it cannot be true that if H-F gets a life sentence he’ll be sentenced to a longer term than people get for murder.

  16. This guy threatened people posing as a law enforcement agent. Responding to such a threat isn’t a matter of stupidity as some have suggested. It’s fear. This guy used fear to manipulate. That’s not capitalism, that’s totalitarianism.

  17. I have been manipulated before by a "good friend". It leaves you feeling very angry at – not your own stupidity – but rather the evilness of the person who pretended to be a friend.

    If I knew that I could get away with it 100%, I would kill the bastard very, very slowly. Or better still, I’d leave him for infinity in some very painful, physically totally incapacitated state but with his mind fully functional. And then I’d visit him regularly and p.ss on his face.

    And f.ck what that makes me.

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