Drug addict conned £30,000 from autistic man who later died of cancer

141021 Williams
Credit: North Wales Police

A drug addict conned a vulnerable autistic man out of more than than £30,000 before he died of terminal cancerThe victim Roger Willis answered an online advert posted by Helen Williams, 40, of Bridge Street, Caernarfon.Williams promised Mr Willis a £5million return on his “investment”.

Mr Willis was described as an "easy target" for fraudsters in in Caernarfon Crown Court .Prosecuting counsel Anna Price said Mr Willis had answered a Craigslist advert in 2017 and paid £75 at first.But further payments were then requested by Williams until she had taken £30,864 from him.

Miss Price said Williams then claimed to have trouble with her landlord and had then been threatened by a gang: “She told him she had been taken hostage and beaten and dumped in woods. He did exactly as she asked and continued to transfer various sums."Williams then made phone calls to him and Mr Willis’s wife told him to contact police.But, in the desperate hope that the investment did exist and also out of concern for Williams, he continued to transfer money to the defendant.In a victim statement, Mr Willis had said she put him “through hell.”Miss Price said: ”He felt an overpowering sense of bitterness and regret. It affected his mental health. It had a devastating impact on his relationship with his wife.”At the time of writing the statement, he had a diagnosis of terminal cancer.Williams was jailed for two years and nine months after admitting four frauds.The prosecution said three of the offences involved her impersonating her 70-year-old mother after logging into her Facebook account.She’d tricked her cousin into making 27 payments, totalling £3,670, after claiming she had serious financial problems.A conned friend of her mother lost £220. Williams had also begged an old work colleague of her mother for money and he gave her £500.Defence barrister Dafydd Roberts said there didn’t appear to be any reasonable explanation for the delay in bringing the case to court. Williams had been sent to prison in 2017 and had since stayed off drugs and turned around her life.Her mother had sought the removal of a restraining order and was at court to support her daughter. “I invite the court to consider whether a suspended sentence can be imposed,” Mr Roberts added.Judge Timothy Petts said it had taken an “unacceptable” length of time to investigate and prosecute Williams. But imprisonment was “unavoidable.”No compensation was awarded because the defendant didn’t have the money to re-pay the lost sums.