Fraudster jailed for tricking terminally ill man - Watford

09/06/2015

A fraudster, who tricked a terminally ill Watford man out of thousands of pounds, was jailed for 2 years and 8 months today, Tuesday, 09 June 2015.

John Berry, aged 47, cold called the 68-year-old man in Fulford Grove offering to build him a brick wall for £650. Berry, who used the name John Connors, then said he could get people to sort out the man's garden, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Azza Brown said Berry was assisted by others in the garden and the victim handed over an extra £8000 that was made out to a woman called Leanne Bell, who cashed the cheque two days later. A further £2,600 and £250 was also paid. Ms Brown said: "The work was of an extremely poor standard. Even if it had been carried out to a high standard it should not have cost more than £4,000."

Berry, of Highlands, Watford, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to committing fraud on 14 September 2012. He originally denied the charge, but changed his plea on the day of the trial. He had been convicted of a similar offence at Harrow Crown Court last year.

Graham King, defending, said Berry was not in good health, having alcohol problems and depression following the death of his daughter.

Judge John Plumstead said: "Offences such as these are the ruthless, merciless victimisation of those who can't stand up for themselves. This poor chap was 68 and dying and you and your friends were perfectly happy to take him for all you could. It is pure, wicked, calculated fraud."

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