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Padiham fraudster jailed over bogus building work
1:30pm Saturday 2nd November 2013 in East Lancashire
A FRAUDSTER who deliberately targeted three elderly people for bogus building work was branded ‘vile’ as he was jailed.
Christopher McKillop got more than £900 from an 80-year-old woman and hundreds of pounds from a man, both living in the Waterfoot area.
Preston Crown Court heard how he also targeted a 92-year-old living in Samlesbury, going with him in a taxi to a bank to withdraw money and claiming to be the man's grandson.
That victim had been persuaded to pay £3,200 for rewiring work. However, a cashier became suspicious and McKillop fled the bank empty-handed.
The defendant, 33, of Russell Terrace, Padiham, Burnley had been sent to the higher court for sentencing for one offence of engaging in an unfair commercial practice and three of dishonestly making false representations.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of attempting to commit fraud and another of making off without paying a taxi fare, all in June this year.
Waterfoot councillor Jim Pilling said: “It’s a despicable, vile crime, the lowest of the low.
“To deliberately prey on elderly, defenceless is vulture-like behaviour.
“They are a trusting generation and they would have believed what they were told. Something like this could have serious repercussions for an elderly residents’ well-being and their finances.
“It is an unforgivable crime. It’s unbelievable how anybody could stoop so low. How do they sleep at night?”
Lucy Wright, prosecuting, said the 80-year-old Waterfoot woman had paid £1,500 for legitimate roofing work to her home.
Two weeks later, the defendant, who was working for a firm called R&B Roofing, told her she needed a new window fitted.
The woman was quoted an estimate of £460 and she reluctantly agreed to the work being carried out.
Some days later, McKillop and two labourers went to her home and she was told the work would now cost £690.
The defendant offered to go with her to the post office to withdraw extra money.
She did not agree, but the money was paid. Later, the woman contacted R&B Roofing after realising her roof was leaking.
McKillop told her it needed re-felting at a cost of £250. She reluctantly agreed but they didn’t return and the work was not completed. The victim received a £50 partial refund.
The other Waterfoot victim was told he needed roof work and paid £900 but the work was never started.
Also in May, the 92-year-old Samlesbury man went in a taxi with McKillop to the Yorkshire Bank in Preston.
The defendant asked the taxi driver to wait for him while he took the man inside. However, he never emerged to pay the £41.
Inside the bank, the victim tried to withdraw £3,200, saying he needed it for rewiring. McKillop asked the bank to send out a new card and pin number to the pensioner's address.
Miss Wright said: "The cashier was suspicious. She thought the circumstances were unusual.
"The elderly man was invited into a private room on his own for questioning further. The defendant left.”
Jon Close, defending, said McKillop was not an intelligent man. He said: “He was something of a lightening rod who was used. He has no knowledge of electrical works or roofing.
"In essence, he was given a script.”
Judge Anthony Russell QC gave McKillop 20 months in jail, plus six months for breaching a suspended sentence order.
He said: “It was deliberate targeting of elderly and vulnerable victims which no doubt has had a lasting effect upon them and their families.
"This was a very, very mean type of offence and you knew you were taking advantage of elderly and vulnerable people.”
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