A hairdresser fled in terror from a Tinder date after discovering she had been ‘catfished’ and FOUR men were lying in wait for her – but claims police did nothing because she hadn’t actually been attacked.
Amy Sharp, 28, had been texting a man she knew as ‘James’ on the dating app for three weeks before she agreed to meet him for a drink around 9pm last Wednesday.
Amy claims when she arrived a total of four men got out of the white Mercedes and approached her through the dark pub car park.
Amy rang ‘James’, only for one of the men’s phones to light up as he walked towards her – prompting her to realise the account had used fake photos to lure her in.
After fleeing and calling the police, Amy claims cops told her ‘James’ admitted he’d used a fake name and pictures as he was scared his girlfriend would find out – but denied showing up with the group, leading to the case being dropped.
The hair and make up artist believes she would need to have been attacked for the police to do anything and is calling for the law to be changed about catfishing.
Catfishing is using a fake profile or identity to form a romantic relationship with someone online. It is not currently illegal in the UK.
Amy, from Chard, Somerset, said: “I was really shaken up.
“With all the Ted Bundy stuff, I know it’s really extreme, but you just don’t know how far it’s going to go.
“The more I think about it the scarier it is. It was obviously calculated.
“I don’t want to know what would have happened if I got out that car.
“At the end of the day, there were four blokes there. I’m 5ft3 and nine stone.
“Let’s be honest, they weren’t all coming for a drink.
Four blokes going to meet one girl on her own – I don’t know what they were planning on doing. They weren’t all going to take me for dinner.
“I’m not saying he was going to murder me, but at the end of the day, he gave me a fake name.
Something was going to happen but I don’t know what.”
Amy, who claims she’s been “single for ages”, initially met James on Tinder and found him “totally normal”.
The pair even spoke over the phone every day for three weeks before agreeing to meet for a drink in Tiverton, Devon, which was 20 minutes from Amy’s house.
Amy pulled up in the pub car park and spotted the white Mercedes that ‘James’ had told her to look out for – but with four men waiting in it.
Amy said: “It was all totally normal. He had an Instagram account, WhatsApp, all his photos were the same person. He did something to do with accounts in an office.
“We spoke on the phone most days for three weeks. If I ever meet somebody I always chat to them on the phone first because you can get a better feel for them.
“We got on well. He seemed really easy going and told me about his job, his family and his ex-girlfriend.
“On the night, he was in the car he said he’d be in, a white Mercedes, and I parked opposite.
“I saw him get out the car with three other people.
“It all happened so fast. [At first I thought] he looked like him, but afterwards I found out he used fake photos because he had a partner.
“All of the men started walking towards my car. I rang his number and his phone lit up and I drove off.”
Fleeing the scene quickly and counting her blessings that she had gone in her car, Amy was so shaken up she called her friend and then the police.
That night, she couldn’t stop thinking about what would have happened if she had got out of the car.
He texted her after asking why she’d fled, to which she responded asking how he could’ve possibly thought it was okay to bring three other men with him on their first date.
“At first he said he brought a friend with him because he didn’t know I was genuine, then it came out it was a fake name,” Amy said.
“He then said ‘okay, fine, I’m Matthew. I used a fake name and fake pictures because I’ve got a girlfriend and I didn’t want her to know’.”
He then pleaded her not to contact police as he told her: “I’m disgusted with my thoughts and behaviour tonight.”
“To me he was going to do something really dodgy. I told him ‘you’re sick. Don’t contact me again’ and blocked his number. I was so angry.
“I phoned a friend and said to her that the weirdest thing just happened. The more I thought of it I realised it was really dodgy.”
After calling 101, Amy claims the incident was passed on to Devon and Cornwall Police before it was then passed on to her local force Avon and Somerset Police.
Avon and Somerset Police informed Amy it was not a crime to use a fake profile on dating websites.
She says a police officer texted her to say he had spoken to the man, who admitted he wasn’t called James but claimed he was the only one in the car.
Amy has now questioned why it wasn’t looked into further and is hoping to raise awareness of catfishers on dating apps.
Amy said: “The police asked ‘did he touch you?’ They said unless he’d actually attacked me, he hadn’t committed a crime.
“There’s no law against using fake names online and using fake profiles.
“He basically said if I was under 18 it would be illegal, but because I’m 28 it’s not.
“What if he went to meet another girl and convinced her to get the bus or train somewhere? I had a car to get away in.
I said to the police ‘what if he’d done this before? Isn’t there a law against luring girls under false pretences?’
“He’s lied, there wasn’t one person in the car. I can’t believe they just believed what he said and didn’t check with me.
“I replied saying ‘that’s a complete lie’, and they didn’t get back to me.”
Since posting her warning online, Amy claims she has been ‘bombarded with messages’ from people who have also been victims of fake profiles – some even claiming to have been speaking to the same man.
Amy said: “I’ve been bombarded with messages from women saying they’ve had similar with a different guy.
“People need to know this is going on.
“I’ve met loads of people off the internet, I always tell someone where I’m going. I’d never meet someone down a lane.”
Devon and Cornwall Police were contacted for comment but had no record of the incident and said it was a matter for the victim’s local force, Avon and Somerset Police.
A spokesperson from Avon and Somerset Police said: “We’ve spoken to both parties and there’s no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed.”
Tinder has been contacted for comment.