Conman given jail term for �12,000 pensioner scam

A MAN said to have the mental age of a six-year-old, who scammed a pensioner out of �12,000 of his life savings has been given a prison sentence.

A MAN said to have the mental age of a six-year-old, who scammed a pensioner out of �12,000 of his life savings has been given a prison sentence.

Steve Winters told Royston resident David Allard he needed to pay the extortionate sum for drainage work that should have cost just �300, and even drove him to the HSBC bank to withdraw money on his 77th birthday.

The conman also told Mr Allard not to tell members of staff why he was withdrawing the money, but he eventually did, and police were called.

Officers were waiting at Mr Allard’s home when Winters, of Paston Ridings caravan site, Norwood Road, Peterborough, came round to collect a final payment of �1,600.

Prosecuting, Alison Gin told Cambridge Crown Court. “The two manhole covers should have cost a maximum of �300. In any case, the work was done badly.”

Mr Allard said he felt too embarrassed to tell people about what was going on after first meeting Mr Winters in March last year.

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He was charged �900 to fix a fault with a manhole cover in his front garden, �3,000 to put right another in his back garden. and �5,000 for drainage work.

He was visited every day for a month by Mr Winters.

In mitigation, David Wales said Mr Winters’ “limited mental capacity” restricted his culpability.

The 31-year-old, who had an IQ of 65 and a mental age of six, was “used” by employers, said Mr Wales.

“He was feeling sick at how much money was taken from a vulnerable person.

“He is concerned the victim has lost a large amount of money and he wants to repay that,” Mr Wales said.

Winters’ pledge to pay back �2,000 up front using a loan from his employers and then �200 a month until the rest had been repaid, leaving him just �100 a month to support his wife and young child, had been dismissed as “wholly unrealistic” by Judge Gareth Hawkesworth.

“To suppose you could have supported your family on �100 a month would put pressure on you to commit further offences of dishonesty,” the judge said.

“While I would dearly love to be able to award compensation to this gentleman, I don’t seem to be in a position to do so.

“I don’t accept for one moment that you were simply acting under orders when this pensioner was fleeced of a substantial proportion of his life savings.

“You knew perfectly well what you were doing. Preying on the elderly will not be tolerated.”

A jail term of 16 months was handed to Winters, who had admitted fraud by false representation at Cambridge Crown Court.

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