THE son of an 87-year-old woman hounded from her family home after being ripped off for her life savings has slammed the justice system after discovering one of the conmen responsible will spend only eight days in jail.
Widnes man Shaun Thornton Price, aged 22, of Caravan Park, Tanhouse Lane, carried out the callous scam with James Dean Loveridge, aged 18, of The Caravan, Fairbank, Elton.
It saw them take thousands of pounds from vulnerable pensioner Elspeth Wilson by convincing her she needed unnecessary building work carried out at her Warrington home.
The ‘independent’ retired teacher has been forced to leave her home of 35 years and move into a care home as family do not want her to be targeted again.
She handed over £14,600 in cash but no work was ever carried out.
Loveridge and Price were jailed for four months for fraud at Chester Crown Court on Friday.
Credit for guilty pleas and time spent on electronic tag means Loveridge will serve two weeks in prison.
Price, who has previous convictions for theft, criminal damage and harassment, will serve eight days.
Following the case the victim’s son Richard Wilson, aged 49, from Stockport, said: “I was shocked and shaking when I found out.
“The police expected they would get one to two years, so I was very disappointed and feel let down by the justice system.
“This is not a deterrent or a punishment.
“The fact they have got more than £7,000 each for a few weeks in jail means it pays better than a job.
“Four months seems like a kick in the teeth for all of us.
“I am still upset what they did to an old person who has worked for the benefit of society as a teacher for the whole of her working life.
“Now she has retired this is how she gets treated.
“Luckily as her memory is so bad she does not remember much about it, but we have had to move her to a retirement complex because we do not want it to happen again.
“She has had to leave the family home she has lived in for over 35 years.”
The court heard the scam was carried out between September 22 and 30 last year.
‘Builders’ visited Mrs Wilson and convinced her to collect £4,800 from the bank and hand it over.
The ‘builders’ returned the next day for a further £9,800.
After his mum told him about the visits, Mr Wilson put a bar on her bank account, meaning when ‘builders’ returned the following day asking for £7,800, she was unable to withdraw it.
He informed police who set up a camera in bushes at the front of her house, recording Loveridge walking up the drive on September 27.
Three days later police waited in an unmarked car as Loveridge, who has a previous conviction for assault, returned.
He ran off to a van driven by Price, which was stopped following a high speed chase.
The court heard Price was allowed to plead guilty to only being at the house on September 30.
Loveridge pleaded guilty on the basis he was collecting cash for someone else in return for a £200 fee.
They denied being the ‘builders’ visiting Mrs Wilson on every occasion.
Merion Lewis-Jones, prosecuting, said he was ‘not in a position to challenge’ the accounts.
He added: “The fact remains Mrs Wilson has lost £14,600.”
Judge Roger Dutton said he moved above the six week sentence recommended in the guidelines to impose a four month sentence.
“This type of offence is extremely offensive,” he said.
“It’s nasty, it is mean, it is an attack on a vulnerable member of society.
“People who choose to behave in a disgraceful way is something the whole of right minded society takes very seriously indeed.
“This is the worst kind of vulnerable victim - an old lady, a trusting lady, who has been conned.
“You knew it was dishonest and you did your bit.”