Chepstow pair conned man, 68, while he was in hospital
1:33pm Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
TWO men who took nearly £8,000 from an elderly neighbour while he was in hospital having his toes amputated were jailed yesterday .
Michael Hunt, of Bulwark Road, Chepstow, was locked up for 32 weeks after earlier admitting two counts of fraud amounting to £7,761.21 from his 68-year-old friend Michael Mallard.
Anthony Vidler, also of Bulwark Road, earlier admitted two counts of fraud totalling £207 when he bought trainers and items from jewellers Swarovski Crystal using Mr Mallard’s card.
He was jailed for 12 weeks.
Newport Crown Court heard Mr Mallard was in hospital in March last year having an operation to remove his toes, but social services were not happy for him to return to his home until it had been redecorated.
Hunt, 32, who, the court heard, was a “trusted friend” of his victim, agreed to do the work and Mr Mallard gave him his Lloyds TSB debit card and the pin number to his account, on the understanding he would withdraw £300 for decorating materials.
The father-of-three withdrew the money, but later “fell prey to the temptation” of seeing that the account contained £13,000.
He was later captured on CCTV buying goods in stores in Coventry and Bristol, which went unnoticed until Mr Mallard was discharged from hospital and discovered significant sums missing.
Money from Mr Mallard’s ISA account had also been transferred to the account and withdrawn, the court heard.
Hunt told him the card had been taken from his house and told police it could have been taken by his friend Anthony Vidler, 27.
Police searched his home and found receipts proving he bought items using Mr Mallard’s card.
He tried to say they had been planted there but his fingerprints were found on the documents.
A total of £17,000 was missing from the retired steelworker’s account but, because the defendants blame each other, the Crown Prosecution Service felt a jury would not be able to decide who was responsible for what, and accepted guilty pleas on the amounts they agreed. Mr Mallard is still out of pocket and has not been repaid by the bank, the court heard.
Andrew Twomlow, defending Hunt, said he was at a “very low ebb” at the time of the offence but had shown remorse for his actions.
Hywel Hughes said Vidler was a promising volunteer football coach who wanted to pay Mr Mallard back what he owed.
Judge Philip Richards said this was a “mean” offence towards Mr Mallard, who sincerely trusted Hunt would not take advantage of him.
Hunt was ordered to pay £500 compensation, while Vidler will pay £207.