real life

Bec Rosen married a man named Hamish. 12 months later, he was a different person.

On June 20, 2019, serial con man Hamish McLaren was jailed for at least 12 years after swindling more than $7.6 million from people including girlfriends and good friends. He will be eligible for parole in July 2029. This is the story of his former wife, Bec Rosen.

“He turned into this freaky character, this whole other person that I don’t recognise.”

When Bec Rosen first met Hamish McLaren in 2008, he was just a fading surfy dude.

Bec had just arrived in town with her three young sons, having moved to Blueys Beach on the NSW coast from Singapore, after a relationship break up.

Hamish was swanning around the small town with a gorgeous girlfriend on his arm, which Bec remembers vividly.

“I used to look at her and think what are you doing with that guy? That’s weird,” she told Mia Freedman in an episode of No Filter.

You can listen to the full episode here. Post continues after podcast.

He was fat, chubby, had stubble, and would wear singlets, boardies and thongs.

He wasn’t attractive, to Bec anyway…not that that mattered.

“My ex husband was the hairiest man you’ve ever seen, other people would probably think he was quite gross, but it didn’t matter to me, I was in love with him,” she explained.

Bec went on to fall in love and marry that fading surfy dude, but she witnessed a complete 360 transformation. The Hamish she knew turned into a peroxide hair, paleo eating, fitness obsessed character that would completely tear her world apart.


At the start, when Bec was just getting to know him, Hamish pretty quickly started complaining about his current girlfriend.

“Like he says about every ex girlfriend, she has a drinking problem, she takes heaps of drugs – which was untrue, this girl was an athlete,” Bec explained.

Looking back, he was sowing doubts about her credibility. It was something he’d go on to do to Bec, when he was moving onto his next relationship after her.

He started wearing Bec down. First he won her boys over – he’d take them for surfs. Then, he started to win Bec over.

This was the Hamish Bec knew in the early days. Image: Supplied.

Her son knocked a tooth out, he swooped in and rushed to the doctor.

He'd pick up groceries and surprised her at the door with a bottle of wine after a hard day.

He'd help her with the emotional labour of dealing with her divorce.

He was kind...and he listened. It was very seductive.

She admits, she didn't believe all of the 'impressive' stories he told her in those early courtship days...but figured; "maybe he's trying to impress me?"

In truth, he was a compulsive liar.

Their romance was a whirlwind, but it was far from passionate.

Bec recalls after their first date (they'd been to the movies), she was interested in "getting the wine and seeing what happened." But he responded with "If I have sex with you, I will own you."

Their relationship did finally get sexual, after seven weeks. But it was less than impressive.

"It was three minutes and he had to have a shower afterwards," said Bec.

Instead, Hamish made Bec love him through the kids. "He always told me what an incredible mother I was. We never went anywhere without them. It was good. I knew I wasn't in love in love, but I thought maybe this is the way life goes," Bec told No Filter.

Maybe she didn't need a sexual relationship...he completed their family unit. That was more important.


She eventually gave in to his wish to marry her in 2010. "I was stoked," she admitted. "I remember thinking - what have I got to lose?"

Bec and Hamish on their wedding day. Image: Supplied.

Everything started to change when Hamish started working for designer Lisa Ho (who he would later go on to take $350,000 from) which saw him travelling to Sydney a lot.

He went from driving a ute to bringing home fancy cars.


He started getting botox. "You could tell, but you'd ask him and he'd say no," said Bec.

He started dying his hair, but again would deny it.

"But I'd go, 'but your hair was grey'. And he'd say 'it was just from the sun'. I'd go the hairdresser in Potts Point and say 'Andrew c'mon' and he'd say 'yeah - he brings in a picture of Daniel Craig [for me to copy]'," she said.

He also started working out more, and losing lots of weight. He went from boxing and surfing to increasing his training dramatically.

Then he started using his new 'image' to make Bec feel bad about herself.

Hamish's before and after. Bec thinks the was transforming for his next 'chapter.' Image: Supplied.

"He used to tell me, 'if you tried, you could look pretty good'.

"I'd probably put on a bit of weight, but I was never a big girl. I used to say - 'I am in my 40s, I have had three children, I am doing aright'," said Bec.

Hamish would then start naming supermodels who had children. Bec's boys would agree with him. She found it mortifying.

"I was trying to raise three men that were feminists," she explained.

Hamish had transformed from a man who was "embarrassed to take his shirt off at the beach" to one who would take half an hour to fix his hair for dinner at the local pizzeria.

"He was so vain. I couldn't give him a hug because it would mess his hair up..he was the polar opposite to the man I met in Blueys," said Bec.

Bec thinks Hamish started to change his image when he realised he wasn't going to get any money out of her...she suggests he was transforming for his next 'chapter.'

He'd tried to get a divorce settlement organised from Bec's ex-husband, he'd then tried to get her parents to sell their holiday house to him, a ruse she thinks was a play for cash. They refused.

Then, he appeared to change his tact, under Bec's nose. He started secretly dating Jane*, Bec's son Jack's 17-year-old girlfriend Jane*. He would later go on to defraud Jane's grandparents.


"I think he realised I wasn't what he needed and he was getting ready for this next chapter which was being this guy who lives in Sydney who is super fit and super hot and drives around in fancy cars and possibly has a 17-year-old girlfriend," hypothesised Bec.

Hamish McLaren running the 2014 SMH Half Marathon
Hamish McLaren in 2014.

In hindsight, Bec thinks he tried to keep her around amongst all of his lies, and his infidelities and his crimes -  to make himself look legitimate.

"It made him look like a good guy and a saviour," said Bec.


It was one of the reasons Lisa Ho trusted him, she was a single mother herself.

Bec finally kicked Hamish to the curb when the truth about Jane was revealed after years of denial. She called him, surrounded by her boys.

"I said we're on speaker, and we've found out...he denied it, and I said 'I want all your s*** out.' We had a bit more contact after that, and then he just cut us.

It was the end of 2014. Six years after he first walked into their lives...and he walked away a different person to the surfy bloke from Blueys that won them over.

He is now in jail, preparing to be sentenced for stealing $7 million from 15 different victims. The Australian's podcast Who The Hell Is Hamish, has been exploring those crimes, and stories.

Bec didn't lose money, she just nearly lost her family unit...and her sanity. But he did take out loans with her forged signature. $450,000 worth of loans, to be exact.

She's still, in 2019, trying to untangle them.

*name changed.

Read More:

Bec's husband routinely denied he was sleeping with a 17yo. Then she discovered the truth.

The four relationship red flags Bec Rosen noticed while she was with Hamish McLaren.

The photo that undid fraudster Hamish McLaren.

How Sydney conman Hamish McLaren convinced everyone he was a millionaire.