Darlington couple charged dementia sufferer £1,260 to pull up a bush

Darlington couple charged dementia sufferer £1,260 to pull up a bush

Darlington couple charged dementia sufferer £1,260 to pull up a bush

First published in News The Northern Echo: Static HTML image by , Chief Reporter (Durham)

A BROTHER and sister fleeced an elderly dementia sufferer of £1,260 for removing a single bush from her garden.

But George William Thompson and Eileen Ward paid the price for their greed when they tried to milk more money from their confused victim.

Thanks to the vigilance of a bank counter assistant Thompson and Ward were unable to get their hands on further cash and were soon arrested after police were alerted.

Durham Crown Court heard that the siblings, from Darlington, were pulled over in a van, in the back of which was found their elderly victim and the money they had already conned from her, hidden in the only bush they had removed from her garden.

Ward, 26, and her 29-year-old brother now face receiving “substantial” prison sentences when they return to court next month after each admitted a charge of fraud.

Richard Bennett, prosecuting, told the court: “It’s a familiarly depressing case involving the deliberate targeting of an elderly lady with dementia, with two determined attempts to take money from her.”

Mr Bennett said the "work" appeared to involve the removal of only a single bush from the garden at her home, just off the A1(M) in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, before then taking her to a bank to withdraw money to make the payment.

“They successfully got £1,260 out of the bank the first time, but, not satisfied with that, they went to another bank and fortunately the teller was alert and suspicious with a confused elderly lady coming to the counter asking for a large sum of money.

“The bank employee was alive to the risk and alerted police, who soon examined cctv in the vicinity.”

Mr Bennett said Ward and Thompson were seen leaving in a van with a ticket for illegally parking outside the bank, in Sunderland, as they headed back to County Durham.

“They were found back in the Durham area with the lady in the van, confused at what was happening.

“A search of the van revealed the cash in the bush cut from the property.

“The work carried out at the house was incompetent and even on Thompson’s account was probably worth about £75.”

The court was told that at least one of Ward’s previous offences involved an elderly victim, and, as a result, she spent three months in custody following her arrest for the latest incident, which dates from March last year.

Robert Smith, for Ward, told the court that the case was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service, but proceedings were revived after a review by its London office, following an appeal against the decision by the victim’s family.

Mr Smith said Ward has since remained out of trouble and has always turned up at court, when requested.

Shaun Dryden, for Thompson, said his previous offence dated from 2008 and involved the theft of a caravan.

Both Mr Dryden and Mr Smith asked for sentence to be adjourned pending preparation of background report on the defendants by the Probation Service.

Judge Christopher Prince, who said he had considered remanding the pair in custody, agreed to bail them prior to sentence.

But it is on condition that Ward lives at an address in Throstlesnest Avenue, and Thompson in Grainger Street, both Darlington, each subject to electronically-monitored 6am - 6pm home curfews.

He told the pair: “When you return here you should expect to receive substantial custodial sentences in both your cases.”

The judge also said the vigilant bank assistant should be commended for their actions.

Ward and Thompson will be sentenced on September 5.

Comments (18)

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4:52am Wed 13 Aug 14

Fossildog says...

Absolutely despicable to take advantage of an elderly person suffering from Dementia. Let us hope they do get a substantial sentence. They should be locked up for a good few years.
Absolutely despicable to take advantage of an elderly person suffering from Dementia. Let us hope they do get a substantial sentence. They should be locked up for a good few years. Fossildog
  • Score: 56

5:45am Wed 13 Aug 14

MWatts says...

Should be a kidnap charge thrown in there too.
Should be a kidnap charge thrown in there too. MWatts
  • Score: 54

7:46am Wed 13 Aug 14

Equity1 says...

Almost as low as it can get - let's just see if the punishment does fit the crime ?
Well done bank staff for having presence of mind to help this vulnerable victim .
Almost as low as it can get - let's just see if the punishment does fit the crime ? Well done bank staff for having presence of mind to help this vulnerable victim . Equity1
  • Score: 42

7:53am Wed 13 Aug 14

darloboss says...

darlingtons finest
darlingtons finest darloboss
  • Score: 18

8:14am Wed 13 Aug 14

stevegg says...

And they are the ones who got caught, how many others have been fleeced that no one knows about? Dont hold your breath for stiff punishment.
And they are the ones who got caught, how many others have been fleeced that no one knows about? Dont hold your breath for stiff punishment. stevegg
  • Score: 25

9:24am Wed 13 Aug 14

BreastBoner says...

MWatts wrote:
Should be a kidnap charge thrown in there too.
Their low-life lawyer will claim that the woman got into than voluntarily... unfortunately!
[quote][p][bold]MWatts[/bold] wrote: Should be a kidnap charge thrown in there too.[/p][/quote]Their low-life lawyer will claim that the woman got into than voluntarily... unfortunately! BreastBoner
  • Score: 15

9:55am Wed 13 Aug 14

annier00nie says...

Bloody disgusting!!
Bloody disgusting!! annier00nie
  • Score: 16

10:27am Wed 13 Aug 14

Ally F says...

disgraceful that the CPS decided initially not to launch a prosecution and this was only over-turned after the victim's family appealed. Makes you wonder whether the couple now convicted of the crime were from the 'untouchable minority community' that get treated with kid gloves by the authorities....
disgraceful that the CPS decided initially not to launch a prosecution and this was only over-turned after the victim's family appealed. Makes you wonder whether the couple now convicted of the crime were from the 'untouchable minority community' that get treated with kid gloves by the authorities.... Ally F
  • Score: 28

12:08pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Lionel1 says...

so that's how they afford the flash Mercs & 4x4's...
so that's how they afford the flash Mercs & 4x4's... Lionel1
  • Score: 20

12:17pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Gamechanger says...

These scum need to be locked up for a long time. Their assets should be seized, sold and the proceeds given to a dementia charity. The bank worker should be rewarded for their vigilance. We do not want this type of lowlife scum on our town.
These scum need to be locked up for a long time. Their assets should be seized, sold and the proceeds given to a dementia charity. The bank worker should be rewarded for their vigilance. We do not want this type of lowlife scum on our town. Gamechanger
  • Score: 22

12:23pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Risk555 says...

The name 'Ward' + Darlington = Not our fantastic travelling friends is it?

Brilliant how the brief wants credit for them turning up to court on time every day....... Some of the speil & lies that come out of these defence lawyers mouths is hilarious
The name 'Ward' + Darlington = Not our fantastic travelling friends is it? Brilliant how the brief wants credit for them turning up to court on time every day....... Some of the speil & lies that come out of these defence lawyers mouths is hilarious Risk555
  • Score: 26

2:28pm Wed 13 Aug 14

oliviaden6 says...

Despicable it remains to be seen what sentence they will get, No doubt Bill Dixon will ask them to say sorry shake the persons hand and let them go on their merry way, these two need a custodial sentence of a few years. BUT i Doubt it would deter these sort of individuals for recommitting. The scary thing a sentence or not or a fine they WILL be heard of again and no doubt will get away with it again the courts and so on are not supporting us the Public from this sort of people? Five years might make them sit up straight!!!!!!!!!!!
Despicable it remains to be seen what sentence they will get, No doubt Bill Dixon will ask them to say sorry shake the persons hand and let them go on their merry way, these two need a custodial sentence of a few years. BUT i Doubt it would deter these sort of individuals for recommitting. The scary thing a sentence or not or a fine they WILL be heard of again and no doubt will get away with it again the courts and so on are not supporting us the Public from this sort of people? Five years might make them sit up straight!!!!!!!!!!! oliviaden6
  • Score: 13

7:23pm Wed 13 Aug 14

behonest says...

What do these scum contribute to society? How much will it cost the taxpayer to keep them in the comfort of a modern prison?
Personally, I'd execute them.
What do these scum contribute to society? How much will it cost the taxpayer to keep them in the comfort of a modern prison? Personally, I'd execute them. behonest
  • Score: 13

8:37pm Wed 13 Aug 14

darlomags says...

Dually noted that one of the organisations running this country The Crown Prosecution Service were not going ahead with this case,SHAME ON YOU! Anyone out there disagree?
Dually noted that one of the organisations running this country The Crown Prosecution Service were not going ahead with this case,SHAME ON YOU! Anyone out there disagree? darlomags
  • Score: 11

6:49pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Border Terrier says...

The term "Traveller" does that mean they Travel out of Darlington to get up to no good? Absolutely sickening!
The term "Traveller" does that mean they Travel out of Darlington to get up to no good? Absolutely sickening! Border Terrier
  • Score: 0

7:18pm Thu 14 Aug 14

NOTODDEN says...

People like these two give scum a bad name. I hope the pictures of these despicable creatures are published by the Northern Echo and national newspapers when they are convicted. It's a racing certainty that there other victims who may come forward if they see that they are locked up.
People like these two give scum a bad name. I hope the pictures of these despicable creatures are published by the Northern Echo and national newspapers when they are convicted. It's a racing certainty that there other victims who may come forward if they see that they are locked up. NOTODDEN
  • Score: 3

10:21pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Acer man says...

Is it any wonder that Police officers jokingly refer to the CPS as the Court Prevention Service and if that doesn't work & it actually gets as far as court then it become the Criminal Protection Service.

I know officers who I have actually heard then say this!!!!
Is it any wonder that Police officers jokingly refer to the CPS as the Court Prevention Service and if that doesn't work & it actually gets as far as court then it become the Criminal Protection Service. I know officers who I have actually heard then say this!!!! Acer man
  • Score: 4

11:51pm Thu 14 Aug 14

nigel d says...

Lets hope the inland revenue take a interest in them after all they love to check on genuine self employed people.
Lets hope the inland revenue take a interest in them after all they love to check on genuine self employed people. nigel d
  • Score: 2

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