Roofer in pensioner con must serve three years

PUBLISHED: 11:32 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:50 25 August 2010

A ROOFER has failed to get time off his jail sentence for his part in conning £5,000 from a pensioner.

A ROOFER has failed to get time off his jail sentence for his part in conning £5,000 from a pensioner.

Bernard Doherty, 33, of Gipsy Lane, Wellingborough, was one of several men involved in a scheme to take the cash from 78-year-old Betty Stroud, who lived alone in Plumstead.

The fraudster's appeal was dismissed at London's Criminal Appeal Court last Thursday.

The gang's plan was to present Mrs Stroud with an invoice for £5,400, telling her she owed more money on a scam £17,000 roofing job completed some time earlier, the court heard.

One of Doherty's accomplices called at her home, telling her that if she did not pay up bailiffs would be called. He said that she could pay £1,000 to "placate" their boss and that the gang would drive her to a bank.

Doherty was one of the men in the vehicle used to transport Mrs Stroud to the bank, the court heard.

However, they never obtained the money, after a member of the bank's staff advised Mrs Stroud to call police.

Doherty admitted fraud at Woolwich Crown Court and was jailed for three years in November last year.

The basis of his plea was that he was involved in a joint enterprise to defraud Mrs Stroud, but had never entered her house or been involved in any previous attempts to gain her money.

Mr Justice Nicol, sitting with Mr Justice Royce, ruled that the sentence was not "manifestly excessive". Justice Nichol said: "This was a most unpleasant offence in which this elderly lady was targeted. She was subjected to a most unpleasant thought that the bailiffs would be brought in.

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