A double life leading love-rat convinced his partner he was secret agent who needed to carry a gun at all times, to conceal his adultery.
For five years, John Hare invented the fantasy lifestyle, which even saw him carry a pistol to a dinner at a Toby Carvery, to cover his true identity of being a middle-aged married farmer.
To dupe his new lover into believing they had a future together, he told her he had separated from his wife and was working for the Secret Service.
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But when she eventually confronted the manipulative liar, Hare turned violent and attacked her.
Now the 53-year-old Walter Mitty character is behind bars for five-and-a-half years, as his victim has shared the story of her humiliation at being sucked in by Hare's lies and how she will never trust another man again.
Hare was convicted of criminal damage, assault and possessing a pistol he claimed he needed for his fantasy profession.
The 53-year-old victim, who the Chronicle has agreed not to name, said: "When I think about it now I think, 'you stupid idiot'.
"He nearly got away with it, but I have stood up to him to stop him doing it to someone else.
"But I'll never trust anyone else again."
The woman, from Newcastle, met Hare through a family member who knew him through work.
The pair chatted on social media before meeting in person, at which point the lies began when Hare claiming he was getting divorced.
His victim said she had no reason not to believe him, thinking he was a nice, bubbly and fun guy, and soon started a relationship with him.
About six months into the relationship Hare, who ran a farm in County Durham, told his new partner about his 'other job', she said
It was then he told her he was in the Secret Service and may need to go away last minute.
The mum-of-two said she couldn't believe anyone would have a reason to make that up.
She was later sent a message from an unknown phone number claiming to be from the unit John worked for and saying it would be the number used to keep her informed should he be called away.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Hare also told the woman he had killed people in the past and had agents watching him so always had to have a weapon with him.
He was even armed during a dinner outing to a Toby Carvery and would carry the .22 pistol on nights out with the woman.
The lies began to unravel when she suspected him of seeing other women behind her back and eventually came to a head in May 2020 during a confrontation at Hare's home.
The court was told how Hare punched his girlfriend three times and sent her to the floor.
His victim said it was only after seeing him locked up last week that she finally accepted the whole relationship had been a lie.
"It's taken a lot of time to get my head around a five year relationship that wasn't real," she said.
"He's stolen seven years of my life."
Judge Bindloss said he accepted Hare was not a danger to the public but said he was a "fantasist" and what he told his girlfriend was 'froth and nonsense'.
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Thomas Welshman, defending, said Hare never threatened anyone with the gun and the deterioration of his marriage had led to a “build up of pressure”.
Mr Welshman said Hare is well respected in the community, has 12 employees and added: “He is a flawed man, a troubled man but not a dangerous man.”
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