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Lies of the evil temptress; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: By James Cartledge

A BIRMINGHAM model claimed her cousin was killed in the 7/7 London terrorist bombings to extract cash from her besotted fiance.

The lie was one of a string of outrageous deceptions which coldhearted Priya Ragan told to hapless, love-struck photographer Bjorn Thomassen.

The mum-of-three was jailed for eight months over the "tissue of lies", which prompted Mr Thomassen to hand over almost pounds 10,000.

She also claimed to have been raped on holiday in Barbados when she fell pregnant by her real boyfriend, police community support officer Mangaliso Brown. He was also part of the scam but avoided a prison sentence.

Ragan (27) of Camp Lane, Handsworth, Ragan admitted seven counts of obtaining property by deception.

An eighth was allowed to lie on the file.

Brown (34) also of Camp Lane, admitted one count of the same charge and was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Ragan wept as she was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court.

Judge Howard Morrisson told her: "It is almost impossible to believe anything you say.

"This was a calculated course of deception which only ended when Mr Thomassen brought it to light."

The court heard Mr Thomassen fell in love with Ragan after she attended photo shoots at his studio in Cornwall in 2002.

She later split from her husband, Graham Manning, moved to Birmingham and began a relationship with Brown.

But she also allowed Mr Thomassen to think they were an item, becoming engaged to him and even letting him think he could be a father to the child she was having with Brown.

The court heard the 47-year-old handed over pounds 4,000, which Ragan claimed was desperately needed to help clear mortgage arrears.

But the cash was actually used as part of the deposit on the Camp Lane home she shared with Brown.

Other payments included pounds 500 for a holiday, pounds 850 for a relative's nonexistent funeral expenses and pounds 2,000 for an engagement ring she did not buy.

Ragan also received pounds 300 towards a funeral for a cousin she claimed was killed in the 7/7 explosions.

"This was a calculated deception intended to separate Mr Thomassen from his hard-earned income and savings," said Sarah Buckingham, prosecuting.

The court heard Brown became aware that pounds 2,000 Ragan produced for the house deposit had been obtained dishonestly and asked her to wangle a Sony PSP console out of Mr Thomassen.

Amanda O'Mara, for Ragan, said her lies "snowballed and escalated out of control".

Lee Marklew, for Brown, said he was not the "sophisticated, devious architect of this offending".

West Midlands Police said Brown had since resigned from his post.

OUR SAY: PAGE 68

CAPTION(S):

OUTRAGEOUS DECEPTION... Priya Ragan.; CONSPIRATOR... Mangaliso Brown was her real boyfriend.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 14, 2007
Words:467
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