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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Love rat Andrew Harper's women have day in court

THEY are caring, compassionate and charitable ... and they were all allegedly conned by Andrew Harper.

But these three women had the satisfaction of watching the 39-year-old in court this week.

Rebecca Bell, 33, Diana Mors, 44, and Rochelle Fisher, 41, sat metres from the man they feared they would never see again.

He vanished from their lives leaving a trail of misery and allegedly taking tens of thousands of dollars.

The three women - who met for the first time this week - each gave interviews to police that eventually led to Harper's arrest.

Harper appeared in Frankston Magistrates' Court on Friday faced with 35 counts of fraud and deception. The hearing, which lasted 47 seconds, was adjourned until February 2 after Harper's legal team indicated he was ready to plead guilty to all charges.

A bearded Harper, wearing green tracksuit bottoms and a plain white T-shirt - which revealed a tattoo of crossed racing flags on his right arm - spoke only to confirm he was not applying for bail.

He stared straight ahead during the proceedings, avoiding any eye contact with his three alleged victims.

Ms Fisher, from Adelaide, says she is $67,000 out of pocket after Harper left her in April this year.

She realised who he really was only when she read about him in the Sunday Herald Sun last month in a story that counted at least 17 victims from Australia, Europe and the US.

"I only knew him under the fake name Andrew Karlsson, a made-up TV executive," Ms Fisher said.

"It was only when I read about him in the Sunday Herald Sun that I saw the picture and realised who he was.

"For me, seeing him in court, answering to his real name gives me closure.

"It proves to me the relationship was a lie from start to finish."

Ms Mors, from Mt Isa in Queensland, said being present in court was "satisfying."

"I felt numb about seeing him. I knew he wasn't going to look at us, but it was satisfying that he knew we were there," the gym business owner said.

"Just knowing we've done all we can is a very good outcome."

Ms Bell said she took comfort in Harper's reversed fortune.

"We had the upper hand for the first time. Now he knows what it's like to not be in a good place," she said.

"He looked scruffy and run-down."

The case was adjourned for a plea of guilty in February.

Jon Kaila    Sunday Herald Sun  December 12, 2012

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