When sentencing him for four years and eight months at Reading Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Wood said of his defrauding of the old couple :
"It was a cynical, sophisticated, selfish, heartless asset-stripping of a gullible 88-year-old man causing great shock, divesting him of his life savings of £365,000."
He was among a gang of eight sentenced for building repair and driveway resurfacing frauds which netted them almost half a million pounds from old people in Berkshire and Devon.
Ronald said : "I feel very foolish to have been taken in by him. It has been two years of hell and he had robbed us of our old age " because he and his wife had hoped to spend their savings on trips to the ballet, theatre and opera and had planned to leave a healthy inheritance for their daughter.
Ronald travails began in 2010, when :
* shortly after he had paid £17,000 for roofing work on his detached house in Wokingham, Berkshire, the young con man knocked on his door and calling himself ‘Jeffrey Andrews’, told him the repairs had left his home suffering from damp and urgently needed dehumidifying.
* the man asked Ronald to pay a deposit for machinery at a cost of £18,000, then demanded a further £18,300 for a more powerful machine and cashed the cheques Ronald gave him almost immediately.
* when he tried to get the deposits back, was told he could "jump the queue" by paying more and if he signed over all of his and his wife’s assets then all this, together with the deposits, would be returned to him.
* was told to tell the banks 'none of this was to do with building work, but personal matters.’
* confused, handed over more cheques and also received calls from the other members of the gang , one of whom claimed to be a ‘scambuster’, who told him not to call the police.
At the trial, Casey, the defrauding conman, admitted three money-laundering offences, two counts of conspiracy to defraud, and robbery. His fellow gang members were jailed in November, receiving terms of between ten months and two years and three months for having cash from the scams paid into their accounts.
What kind of country is this Britain which produces men like this who can rob vulnerable and trusting old men without one shred of conscience ?
King Lear :
"Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity,
To see another thus. I know not what to say....
Pray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less."