The Puppet Master

The Puppet Master – Where Are They Now?

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“The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman” is a gripping Netflix docuseries that explores the life of Robert Hendy-Freegard, a British conman who spent over two decades manipulating and stealing from his victims. The three-part series follows the search for Hendy-Freegard and details how he masked his true identity to gain the trust of his victims.

The series highlights the impact that Hendy-Freegard had on his victims, leaving ruined families in his wake. It also sheds light on the legal proceedings that led to his conviction and the legacy that he left behind. Even after the series concludes, many viewers are left pondering the whereabouts of Hendy-Freegard and his accomplices.

In this article, we will explore the current status of Hendy-Freegard and his accomplices, including Sandra Clifton, whom he met in 2012. We will examine the impact of “The Puppet Master” on the public’s perception of con artists and provide insight into the legacy of Hendy-Freegard’s crimes.

The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman Overview

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Series Background

Sam Benstead and Gareth Johnson directed the British documentary series “The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman.” Netflix released the three-episode series in 2022, categorizing it as a true-crime documentary under the TV-MA rating.

The series follows the story of British conman Robert Hendy-Freegard, who managed to steal money from multiple people for over two decades. It details how he masked his true identity and convinced people that he was an MI5 agent. The series also shows how he manipulated and stole from his victims, leaving ruined families in his wake.

Critics have acclaimed the series, lauding its gripping storytelling and comprehensive examination of the conman’s life. It has drawn comparisons to the BAFTA-winning documentary “The Imposter” and has earned recognition as one of the finest true-crime series on Netflix.


The series comprises three episodes, each spanning around 45 minutes in runtime. Titled “They Vanished,” “The Puppet Master,” and “Where Are They Now?” the episodes are organized chronologically, presenting a detailed narrative of the conman’s life and his adept manipulation and deception of his victims.


Ozark produced the series, which Netflix released in 2022, earning a TV-MA rating due to its mature content and themes. The series has garnered acclaim for its high production value and its capacity to engage and captivate audiences.

Overall, “The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman” is a must-watch for anyone interested in true-crime documentaries. The series provides a detailed and insightful look into the life of a conman and his victims, and is a testament to the power of storytelling.

Robert Hendy-Freegard: The Conman

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Robert Hendy-Freegard is a former bartender who became infamous for his elaborate deception and manipulation of those around him. He was born in England in the mid-1970s and grew up in a working-class family.

While there isn’t extensive documentation about Hendy-Freegard’s early life, it’s established that he worked as a car salesman before delving into his criminal undertakings.

Early Life and Deception

Hendy-Freegard’s early criminal career began in the mid-1990s when he began posing as a British spy to impress women. He would often tell elaborate stories about his work for MI5 and his involvement in secret missions. Hendy-Freegard’s deception was so convincing that he was able to convince several women to leave their homes and families to join him on his supposed missions.

Role as an MI5 Agent

Hendy-Freegard’s claims of being an MI5 agent eventually caught the attention of the real MI5, who investigated his claims and found them to be false. Despite this, Hendy-Freegard continued to pose as a spy and even convinced some of his victims that they too were working for MI5.

Manipulation and Coercive Control

Hendy-Freegard’s most insidious tactics involved his use of manipulation and coercive control. He would use a combination of charm, flattery, and intimidation to control his victims and keep them under his spell. He would often threaten them with violence or blackmail if they tried to leave him.

Hendy-Freegard’s criminal activities eventually led to his arrest in 2001. Subsequently, he stood trial, and the verdict found him guilty on multiple counts of kidnapping, theft, and deception, resulting in a life sentence in prison. Today, Hendy-Freegard remains behind bars, serving out his sentence for the crimes he committed.

Victims of the Puppet Master

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The Puppet Master, Robert Hendy-Freegard, left a trail of destruction and ruined lives in his wake. He preyed on vulnerable individuals and families, convincing them he was a British spy and manipulating them into giving him their money, trust, and even their freedom. Here are some of the victims of the Puppet Master:

The Clifton Family

Sandra Clifton and her two children, Sophie and Jake, were among the Puppet Master’s most tragic victims. Hendy-Freegard managed to convince Sandra that her life was in jeopardy. He also asserted that he was the sole person capable of safeguarding her and her children. He convinced her to sell her house and give him the proceeds, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle.

The family lived in fear and isolation, cut off from their friends and family. Hendy-Freegard even convinced Sandra to change her children’s names and cut off contact with their father. Years later, the family managed to escape, and justice was finally brought to Hendy-Freegard.

Sarah Smith and the American Girlfriend

Sarah Smith was another victim of the Puppet Master’s elaborate con. Hendy-Freegard convinced her that she was in danger and that he was the only one who could protect her. He convinced her to give him her life savings and even convinced her to marry him.

However, Hendy-Freegard had already married an American woman, whom he had also persuaded to believe in his spy persona. The two women eventually discovered each other and confronted Hendy-Freegard, leading to his arrest.

Other Notable Victims

The Puppet Master’s list of victims extended to John Atkinson. He skillfully persuaded Atkinson to invest money in a fictitious business endeavor. Additionally, he manipulated several others into lending him money for different pretexts.

Hendy-Freegard’s reputation grew as he spun elaborate falsehoods and utilized manipulative strategies. These approaches effectively led many people to have faith in him and entrust him with their finances. After Hendy-Freegard exploited their personal details to secure loans and credit cards, certain victims found themselves receiving mortgage repayment notices and court summonses related to parking fines.

Legal Proceedings and Conviction

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Investigation by Authorities

The investigation into Robert Hendy-Freegard’s crimes began in 2001 when one of his victims reported him to the police. The police then discovered that Hendy-Freegard had been posing as an MI5 agent and conning people for over a decade. The police worked with the FBI and Scotland Yard to track down Hendy-Freegard, who had fled to the United States.

Court Trials

In 2007, the UK extradited Hendy-Freegard and leveled 21 charges against him, including theft, deception, and kidnapping. The trial disclosed that Hendy-Freegard had manipulated his victims into believing they were under threat and required seclusion. He then used this opportunity to steal their money and possessions. Hendy-Freegard also kidnapped two of his victims and held them captive for several months.

Conviction and Aftermath

In 2008, the court pronounced Hendy-Freegard guilty on all charges and handed down a life sentence with a minimum term of 12 years. The judge described Hendy-Freegard as “a very dangerous man” who had caused “fear, misery, and harm” to his victims. Hendy-Freegard’s victims expressed relief at the verdict and hoped that they could finally move on from the ordeal.

The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman docuseries covers Hendy-Freegard’s crimes and conviction in detail. It also features interviews with some of his victims and the detective who worked on the case. Hendy-Freegard is currently serving his sentence in a UK prison.

Impact and Legacy

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Effect on Victims’ Lives

The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman has had a profound impact on the lives of the victims of Robert Hendy-Freegard’s elaborate con. The series highlights the emotional toll that Hendy-Freegard’s deception took on his victims, including ruined families and shattered relationships. One victim, who had fallen in love with Hendy-Freegard and had a child with him, described the devastation she felt upon discovering his true identity.

The series reveals the significant extent of control exerted by Hendy-Freegard over his victims. This control was achieved through tactics like surveillance and psychological manipulation. The stories of those who were ensnared in his web reveal the impact of this control, as they struggle to break free and reconstruct their lives.

Influence on True-Crime Genre

“The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman” has left a profound impact on the true-crime genre. It has established a fresh benchmark for comprehensive investigative journalism and narrative techniques. The series employs a range of techniques, such as interviews with essential figures and dramatic reenactments. These methods effectively breathe life into the narrative.

The series also highlights the importance of pedigree in the world of espionage, demonstrating how Hendy-Freegard was able to use his supposed connections to secret agents to gain the trust of his victims. This aspect of the story has resonated with audiences and has helped to spark a renewed interest in the world of espionage and intelligence.

Public Reaction and Perception

The public reaction to The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman has been overwhelmingly positive, with many viewers praising the series for its gripping storytelling and powerful message. The series has also sparked a conversation about the need for better protection for victims of fraud and deception.

The series has also shed light on the bizarre lead that ultimately led to Hendy-Freegard’s capture, involving a computer virus and a reptile. This aspect of the story has captured the imagination of viewers and has helped to cement the series’ place in the annals of true-crime history.

Overall, The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman has had a lasting impact on the true-crime genre and on the lives of those affected by Hendy-Freegard’s deception. The series serves as a powerful reminder of the dangers of falling prey to con artists and the importance of staying vigilant in the face of deception.

The Puppet Master: Where Are They Now?

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Robert Hendy-Freegard Today

Robert Hendy-Freegard, the subject of the Netflix documentary series “The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman,” is currently serving a life sentence in prison. He was convicted in 2007 for a string of offenses, including kidnapping, theft, and coercion. He is currently incarcerated in the UK.

Victims’ Current Status

Many of Hendy-Freegard’s victims have moved on with their lives, but the emotional scars of his deception and coercive control still linger. Some victims have shared their stories publicly, while others have chosen to remain anonymous. Many have struggled with financial difficulties due to the theft of their money and assets by Hendy-Freegard.

Public and Media Interest

The Netflix documentary series “The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman” has generated significant public and media interest in Hendy-Freegard’s case. Critics have commended the series for its emotional and investigative depth, and it has ignited discussions about the intricacies of trust and deception.

The documentary has also led to renewed interest in other true-crime series and documentaries, such as the BAFTA-winning “The Imposter.” The series has earned a TV-MA rating due to its mature themes and content, making it a recommended choice for enthusiasts of true-crime shows and movies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current whereabouts of Robert Hendy-Freegard?

Robert Hendy-Freegard is currently serving a life sentence in prison for his crimes. In 2007, he was pronounced guilty of kidnapping, theft, and fraud, leading to a life imprisonment sentence. He is presently serving a sentence in a UK prison and will not be eligible for parole until 2036.

How many children does Robert Freegard have?

It is unclear how many children Robert Hendy-Freegard has, if any. There is no information available on his family life or whether he had any children before his arrest and imprisonment.

Did Sandra Clifton ever reunite with her family?

After Robert Hendy-Freegard’s arrest, Sandra Clifton was reunited with her family. Freegard subjected her to several years of captivity and kidnapping, forcing her to cut off communication with her family during that time. After her rescue, she was able to reconnect with them and begin to rebuild her life.


The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman is a gripping true-crime documentary series that follows the story of Robert Hendy-Freegard, a British conman who managed to deceive multiple people into giving him nearly one million pounds. The series explores the concepts of manipulation, corruption, and lies that fed the story of how Freegard conned people for over two decades.

The documentary provides a detailed account of Freegard’s crimes and how he managed to mask his true identity to steal money from a multitude of different people. It also sheds light on the impact that his actions had on the lives of his victims and their families.

While the series does not provide an update on where Freegard and Sandra Clifton, another person involved in the case, are now, it serves as a cautionary tale for viewers to be vigilant and aware of the dangers of being manipulated and deceived by others.

Overall, The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman is a well-produced and informative series that offers a glimpse into the mind of a master manipulator. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in true crime and the psychology of deception.