A CONMAN who used his "sexual wiles" to steal money and jewellery from a string of women has been jailed for 45 months.

Chris Holding, previously of Fisgard Court in Admirals Way, Gravesend, preyed on women including one from Lewisham. 

He pretended to be an American musician or a New York Times journalist when in fact he was a barely literate chef.

Police know the 24-year-old struck up relationships with at least nine women allowing the former Catholic school pupil to pocket cash, jewellery and valuables worth nearly £8,300.

Judge Daniel Worsley said Holding was guilty of a "breach of trust of the highest level" and that his sentence was longer than guidelines suggest "because of the harm you have inflicted on so many".

Anoeshka Smit was waiting for a flight at Stansted Airport when she met Holding posing as a Californian journalist about to relocate to London.

The conman moved in with 25-year-old Smit in Sanford Walk, Lewisham, but within weeks she realised her grandmother's wedding ring was gone.

Miss Smit kicked him out but Holding went on to steal £260 from her bank account.

Prosecutor Mark James-Dawson said: "In the first, Holding entered into a prolonged sexual relationship with his victims, lulling them into trusting him.

"He then abused their trust, stealing money and jewellery, including heirloom pieces of incalculable sentimental value.

"In the second, often while in relationships with other women, he engaged in short-term flings and once in his victim's home, stole goods and money."

Holding’s lies finally unravelled after four years when a detective investigating a theft in May spotted a similar case from a fortnight earlier.

DNA from a pair of socks he left behind after a one-night stand led to his identification and he was caught on a train at Waterloo train station on August 21.

Holding claims to have a six-year-old son in Australia and has convictions for shoplifting and theft.

He admitted 13 counts of theft while four counts were left on file at his sentencing on November 26 at Blackfriars Crown Court.