Ingleby Barwick rogue trader jailed after faking brain tumour to evade justice

David Mason was covertly filmed running a second-hand car dealership with his wife, after convincing medics and the courts he was terminally ill. Credit: North Yorkshire Police / North Yorkshire County Council

A rogue trader from Teesside who claimed he was too sick to stand trial, despite being covertly filmed running a car dealership, has been jailed.

Teesside Crown Court heard how David Mason, 41, of Harlech Court, Ingleby Barwick, had faked terminal illness, claiming he had a brain tumour to evade justice after he worked with three other men to swindle elderly people across the region out of tens of thousands of pounds.

Between them, officers estimate the group gained at least £51,735 from the crimes which were carried out at properties in North Yorkshire, York, Cleveland and Durham.

One of the victims, an 89-year-old man from Colburn, was driven to his bank nine times and made to withdraw his life savings, totalling £23,950 in cash.

Mason had told the court and medics that his chances of surviving the supposed tumour were low therefore he would not be fit to stand trial.

This led to the first trial, held in September 2021, to collapse. However, covert footage gathered by trading standards officers and the police showed he was in fact fit and well and was running a second-hand car dealership with his wife.

CCTV footage from inside the garage showed him carrying heavy ladders, without any of the symptoms he claimed to be suffering from.

He was arrested at the end of March 2022. The following month, he admitted to perverting the court of justice between 7 September 2021 and 1 April 2022.

In court on Friday 23 September, Mason was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for that charge as well as conspiring to defraud.

He now faces an investigation by Yorkshire and Humber Regional Economic Crime Unit who could confiscate his assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act to compensate the victims.

Three men also pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud.

  • Gary Russell, 45, of no fixed abode was sentenced to five years and three months.

  • Adam Godley, 33 from Stockton, was sentenced to 20 months.

  • Christopher Scott, currently imprisoned at HMP Holme House after being convicted of unrelated offences, was sentenced to 20 months.

Gary Russell, Adam Godley and Christopher Scott all pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud. Credit: North Yorkshire Police

In passing sentence, Judge Carroll told the defendants: “This was a tragedy for elderly and vulnerable victims who were ruthlessly exploited, and the enterprise was established from the outset to take every penny available for extraction.

“Your offending was brutal in its callousness, with you laughing and filming the victims, mocking them and deriving entertainment from this.

“You fundamentally damaged the twilight years of your victims, with one victim almost driven to the point of suicide.”

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