Author Lee Mackenzie has written an account of how she met, fell in love with and married Kenner Elias Jones only to find out too late about his true character.
Lee Mackenzie, author of a book published this week, called The Charming Predator, is hoping to flush out the notorious, international conman Kenner Elias Jones, her former husband. He is still at large after last being confronted by the media six years ago in Portugal.
BBC Wales tracked him down and filmed him in Lisbon as he continued his criminal career of theft, forgery and fraud. But ‘Conman Ken’, as the BBC dubbed him, refused to answer accusations of taking thousands of euros off small businesses in the Portuguese capital and the nearby town of Palmela.
A travel agent said he persuaded her to hand over €2,500 worth of travel tickets and then disappeared without paying for them.
But his deceptions in Portugal were minor compared with his activities elsewhere.
Originally from Caernarfon in Wales, by the time he arrived in Portugal he had racked up some 60 convictions in a criminal career spanning four decades.
He absconded from a trial in Lewes Crown Court in Sussex in 2003 and has been on the run ever since.
Jones has been deported from both Canada and the United States. A senior immigration officer in America described him as “the best conman I have ever encountered in my entire career.”
He is wanted in Kenya for unpaid debts of more than $100,000 after running his own charity there for seven years, posing as a doctor. He also conducted church services claiming to be a priest.
Back in Europe, he was in the Netherlands and Belgium before moving to Portugal and then on to south-west Spain. He was last reported seeking political asylum as a refugee from Kenya in Sweden.
Lee Mackenzie has written an account of how she met, fell in love with and married Jones only to find out too late about his true character.
As a young, unworldly woman from a small, trusting community on Canada’s west coast she fell victim to a sociopath regarded by all who met him as highly intelligent and charming. But he went on to shatter her emotionally, psychologically and financially.
“After storing all the memories away in a cardboard box for decades,” says Mackenzie, “I finally opened it and looked inside. Not long after that I connected with an editor who challenged me to write my story. I love a challenge.”
Mackenzie admits that even after a long passage of time, sifting through the story was difficult. “It was certainly a journey into the past,” she says.
“And along with remembering the damage Kenner had done, I also had to face my own part in the story. It was embarrassing, humiliating to see how easily I had been duped. I see now how I simply wanted to make my marriage and my life a happy one. I had to heal and forgive myself. That’s part of the story too.”
A former CBC radio and television journalist, Mackenzie is now a professional artist as well as a member of the administrative staff at her local detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
She visited Portugal for a month, staying in Lagoa in the Algarve, while finalising her very personal story.
Since her ex-husband’s last sightings in Spain and Sweden she has been trying to locate him via the internet. With the publication of her book she plans to step up her efforts and has launched a website with a page called “Where’s Kenner?” – www.thecharmingpredator.com
The Charming Predator has been published by Penguin Random House.
By LEN PORT
Len Port is a journalist and author based in the Algarve. Follow Len’s reflections on current affairs in Portugal on his blog: algarvenewswatch.blogspot.pt