Nottingham Crown Court has handed down a suspended jail sentence to a rogue handyman who defrauded a bedridden pensioner out of thousands of pounds for work he said he had carried out when he had not.
Willam Bower of Tolney Lane in Newark, Nottinghamshire was issued with a 15-month sentence suspended for two years at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 27 January, after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud in November 2016.
Bower was also ordered to repay nearly £6,000, carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and keep to a curfew between the hours of 7pm and 6am.
Bower’s conviction and sentencing followed an investigation by Nottingham City Council Community Protection Trading Standards Service, which found that he had approached an elderly bed-bound woman as a gardener, lied about his name – and about work he falsely said he had carried out to gain money from her over a period of approximately six months.
The woman lives alone and the court heard that Bower sent emails late into the night, accompanied by photographs of his wife in her sick bed and also brought his family to visit. Throughout this time, the victim knew Bower by another name.
Bower pleaded poverty, asking for loans of cash and for payment of his van insurance, when his bank account records show he had a healthy balance. He also repeatedly approached the pensioner, claiming that certain jobs needed to be done around the house – and then asked for payment.
However, when an expert inspected the woman’s property, it came to light that he had not done many of the jobs he said he had – and those he had done, he had done “shoddily”. The expert highlighted one example when Bower said he had decorated rooms in the house, but painted around furniture.
The woman he defrauded believed him to be a friend and relied on him to tell the truth about the work he was doing, the court was told. She was unable to get out of bed to check for herself – but he relied on her vulnerability, knowing that she could not see what he was or was not doing for the money she paid him. He had not only provided false details to this victim, but also to a recommended trader website, which he had previously been removed from after complaints. However, it was on this website, that Bower initially found his victim.
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