A counsellor who brainwashed an alcoholic client into giving her almost £250,000 was warned she faces a lengthy jail term.

Mary McCullagh (59) told Nicole Anderson she would get the money back with interest after the therapist inherited a fictitious £9 million estate.

She also gained the wealthy estate agent's sympathy by saying she had multiple sclerosis and was dying of lung cancer, Bournemouth Crown Court was told.

When Miss Anderson began running out of money, having sold all her assets and cashed in her investments, McCullagh moved on to a second victim, David Oliver.

She embarked on an affair with Mr Oliver, who owned his own house, during a cruise.

She then tricked him into giving her £9,000 after she said her son needed urgent psychological treatment in America.

McCullagh, who now lives in Wexford, Ireland, chose not to give evidence.

She denied 12 counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception and one count of obtaining property by deception.

Judge John Beashel earlier ordered the jury to return a not guilty verdict for one count of obtaining property by deception, namely two watches bought for her by Miss Anderson worth about £2,500 in total.

The jury of eight women and four men took three and a half hours to find McCullagh guilty on the remaining 13 counts.

Judge Beashel heard that McCullagh has previous convictions for fraud, when she was fined £25 at Stranraer Sheriff Court, Scotland, in September, 1980.

She was also jailed for one month for being bankrupt with intent to defraud creditors, during a hearing at the High Bailiffs Court in Douglas, Isle of Man, in April 1981. The charge related to an unpaid £400 hotel bill.

McCullagh was also given a conditional discharge for a year for two counts of obtaining property by deception at Derby City Magistrates Court in August 1982.

McCullagh looked ahead expressionless as Judge Beashel told her: "The extent of your dishonesty is simply breathtaking and you face a long prison sentence."