Conman Wayne Eaglesome served five years in prison for sexual offences
A Christchurch businessman believes he has had a lucky escape after nearly agreeing to set up a "prolific" conman in the backpacker hostel business.
Convicted fraudster Wayne Jury Eaglesome this month tried to convince Christchurch garage owner John Lee to buy a 10-bedroom home in central Christchurch, valued at $700,000, so he could run it as a backpackers. He said Lee could earn $2000 a week in rent if the house was run as a hostel.
Eaglesome, aged about 40, has a long criminal history, and has been imprisoned for fraud. He has also served time in prison in the United States.
Stuff inquiries this week have also unearthed a prison term for serious sexual offending against two men, one of whom was a backpacker, in 2006.
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Eaglesome, as Alexander De Villiers, was jailed for five years for sexually violating and indecently assaulting an 18-year-old backpacker and indecently assaulting another youth. While in prison, he was reprimanded for impersonating a corrections officer.
Stuff last year revealed Eaglesome was operating several hostels for backpackers and temporary workers under the name Richard Mountjoy.
Lee, who owns a garage business in Sydenham, said he knew Eaglesome as a customer called Richard. They talked about Lee's plan to open a backpackers and Richard showed him several properties, including one in central Christchurch.
Lee claimed Richard offered to pay $2000 rent per week for the property if Lee bought it. He said he was unaware of Richard's other identities and criminal history.
"This is the first time I've heard this story. I think that's very bad."
He would no longer be dealing with Eaglesome, he said.
"I just believed he ran a backpack house and was very kind to the other young guys. If he has a bad character or is involved in crime, I won't buy for him."
Detective Inspector Darryl Sweeney said the Christchurch CIB would "be looking into the current situation and circumstances".
"We are aware of the history and the predilection for this behaviour."
ALEXANDER DE VILLIERS
Eaglesome's sexual offending in 2006 resulted in eight charges.
One of the complainants met Eaglesome, then known as De Villiers, outside a tavern in Tauranga. De Villiers offered the victim, 19, and a friend a place to stay and orchard jobs in Te Puke.
During their stay, De Villiers told the victim he was a chiropractor and that his grandfather was the Chief of Defence of South Africa.
One day, De Villiers emerged from his bedroom completely naked and placed his hands on the victim's private parts.
De Villiers then allegedly offered the victim $1000 for sexual favours but was rebuffed. In an interview with police, De Villiers said the victim was a Tauranga escort and he paid $180 for a one-hour session. He said he was "sodomised" by the victim.
The other charges related to an 18-year-old man who was approached by De Villiers outside a supermarket in Te Puke.
De Villiers offered to provide a cheap rental and a full-time job.
Later that night, De Villiers told the victim he was a professional masseur and suggested a massage.
Sexual contact then followed, after which the young man complained to police. De Villiers was charged with four counts of indecent assault, two counts of sexual violation and one of unlawful detention with intent to have sexual connection.
'ENDEAVOURING TO LIVE A BETTER LIFE'
Eaglesome said this week the allegations that led to his jailing in 2006 were false.
He denied having ever operated a backpacker hostel and said he should be left alone.
"As long as I am engaging in lawful activities and not breaking the law, I should be allowed to earn a living.
"I am living a life that is free from any criminal offending and intend to continue to live a life without any criminal offending.
"I regret the many things that I have done in my life that have been harmful to others. For those things which I have acknowledged my guilt, I am truly sorry and endeavouring to live a better life."
Eaglesome was jailed for three years in 2012 for various fraud offences and served a jail sentence in 2003 for similar offending.
A Parole Board report from an August 2013 hearing said a psychologist found Eaglesome was at medium to high risk of sexual reoffending and at high risk of general reoffending, particularly fraud.
"His substantial history of New Zealand convictions coupled with a sentence in the United States is evidence of that," the report said.
In 2015, a psychologist said Eaglesome was a "prolific high-risk confidence man with narcissistic overlays".