'Vulnerable' Grimsby pensioner conned out of £175,000 in life savings

Luke Heaton was sentenced to four years in jail at Grimsby Crown Court. Credit: MEN Media

An elderly dementia sufferer had £173,000 of life savings stolen by bogus bank employees and police officers.

The 81-year-old was left unable to pay bills and had his telephone landline cut off after he was persuaded to hand over his bank details to fraudsters.

Luke Heaton, 30, was part of the scheme which defrauded two men in their eighties out of nearly £230,000 in July 2021. An 83-year-old man from London lost more than £52,000.

Heaton was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of two counts of conspiracy to steal at Grimsby Crown Court.

The Grimsby man's daughter said in court: "Since the incident my dad has felt very vulnerable in his own home and he doesn't trust people like he used to. He used to be very trusting."

She said her father feared someone would take his belongings away after he was left unable to pay bills.

She added: "My dad has lost his independence since this incident. He feels useless.

"He said he doesn't understand how someone could take that amount of money in such a short space of time. It has caused him a lot of stress, worry and upset.

"It's horrible thinking that someone could do this to my dad."

The pensioner had saved up the money after his wife died to pay for his own funeral, but the fraudsters instead spent the money on high-end goods and jewellery.

Two men attended their victim's home to collect his bank card and told him that a number of packages would be delivered to his home which a woman would come and collect.

Mitigating, Richard Hackfath told the court: "Luke is not the brains behind this offending. He acted together with other people.

"He was not face to face with any of the victims in this case. He was not the person who told the person in Grimsby that he was the police officer or the bank employee and he did not go inside the house."

However, Judge Michael Fanning KC told Heaton: "The public will hold you in contempt and [the Grimsby man's] family despise you.

"You were working so closely with the other person so it makes little difference to your culpability. Your role was pivotal."

Heaton was sentenced to four years in prison with credit for time served. The victim was given his money back.

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