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How 'Mary Poppins' Persona Concealed A Serial Fraudster's Actions: She Used A Fake Identity While Minding Children In Celbridge

Friday, 29 March 2024 14:33

By Martin Osborne and Emma O'Connor

Journalist Mark Tighe believes Gardai and Tusla should be involved.

Gardai and Tusla should be involved in the case of serial fraudster Samantha Cookes who worked under a fake persona as an au-pair for a family in Celbridge.

Sunday Independent reporter Mark Tighe told Kildare Today that she is always creating new identities.

"She went on to mindme.ie. She put herself across like a Mary Poppins figure with numerous qualifications in childcare, child psychology and paediatrics - just a wonderful nanny."

The Celbridge family put up an ad and Ms Cookes presented them with a fake story about her background.

"She came across as the perfect candidate. If there was a bake sale on, she would bake goods."

He said "things came to a head at a parent-teacher meeting" when Ms Cookes identity was revealed.

The family decided to call the Gardai but Ms Cookes seemed to have been tipped-off.

She left the following day.

He said there is an ongoing investigation into alleged theft after a landlord claimed furniture was missing from their home.

She also took money from parents who paid her under the pretence that she was planning trips for children to Lapland.

Tighe said there is a litany of deception across multiple counties.

"She has this interest in children and getting involved in childcare. There's child protection issues there, where someone is falsifying their identities and hiding their convictions .While there is no suggestion that something untoward is happening to children - you would worry that this would spiral or become dangerous if someone confronts her about her past."

Ms Cookes, who moves from one location to another throughout Ireland, has been convicted on a number of fraud charges in the UK and Ireland.

Tighe said she has "left a trail of destruction behind her".

She even posed as a surrogate mother and conned a childless couple of their savings in the UK in 2011.

The couple had suffered miscarriages and three failed IVF cycles, with Cookes falsely promising to help them start a family.

She recently accused the Celbridge family of owing her over €7,000 in unpaid wages after working for them using a fake identity.

Tighe said she is a professional at changing her identity.

It is understood that Ms Cookes is residing in Cork.

"She could be anywhere. For whatever reason, she is determined to stay in Ireland. She could have a different persona, another character - maybe working on a different persona and looking for a job," Tighe said.

"We are not trying to start a witch-hunt but it's something people have to be aware of," he said.

 

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