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Bailiff admits to £20,000 theft from pensioner

PUBLISHED: 16:39 06 January 2010 | UPDATED: 17:28 25 August 2010

A BAILIFF who befriended a woman in her 80s and then stole over £20,000 from her must wait until next month to hear his fate. A judge at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday adjourned sentencing of Peter Walsh, 45, from Crayford, for reports until February

A BAILIFF who befriended a woman in her 80s and then stole over £20,000 from her must wait until next month to hear his fate.

A judge at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday adjourned sentencing of Peter Walsh, 45, from Crayford, for reports until February 8.

The court had been told that Walsh, who pleaded guilty to three offences of theft in the summer of 2006 initially visited the pensioner, who lived in Stock, Essex, in his professional capacity in connection with her council tax, and then abused her trust.

Walsh, of Green Walk, had changed his plea to guilty today as he was about to go on trial before a jury.

He admitted stealing an account balance of £7,000 from Dorothy Hobbs on June 14, 2006, stealing an account balance of £6,750 on July 19 and a similar offence involving £6,739 on August 7 that year.

The case was not opened and sentence was adjourned until the week beginning February 8 for reports. Walsh was released on bail.

Judge David Turner QC described the victim - who was then aged 82 - as "a conspicuously vulnerable person".

He said: "There was a high degree of trust. He was a professional bailiff viz a viz a customer as she initially was. There's his public role of someone employed by a certified bailiff, Rossendales."

Defending barrister Francis McGrath told the court that Walsh's employment resulted in the contact "and then there was the befriending and then the relationship which is exploited".

He added that Walsh, married with one child, was of previous good character. He said he was a self-employed bailiff before his employment with Rossendales and was carrying debts from running his own business at the time of the offences.

Prosecutor Gerard Pounder offered no evidence against Walsh's brother, Anthony Walsh, 46, formerly of Ramsgate, now at an address in south Dartford, in relation to one charge of theft and the judge entered a not guilty verdict and discharged him.

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