Disabled man ‘completely betrayed’ by ‘friends’ who stole his £16,500 life savings

A SEVERELY disabled man was “completely betrayed” after two “friends” stole his £16,500 life savings.

Sylvia Richards and Paul Baker broke into wheelchair-bound Andrew Rose’s home and helped themselves to cash from his safe.

The pair then splashed the cash on a flat screen TV, a mountain bike and an Xbox.

Officers also found 200 cartons of cigarettes, £1,000 in cash and £325 in a leather handbag.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Mr Rose kept bundles of cash in the safe because he didn’t trust banks.

He had befriended Richards in Newport Market and she often visited his home.

Nuhu Gobir, prosecuting said: “On the day of the incident Richards arrived at Mr Rose’s flat at 9.30am. She deliberately left the back door unlocked.

“The pair went out on their mobility scooters to Newport Market and met up with Baker at a pub later that afternoon. Mr Rose went home after that.

“He let himself into his flat and saw the back door was open.

“The padlock to the cupboard where the safe was kept was broken. The safe which contained his life savings was gone.”

In a victim personal statement read out in court Mr Rose said: “I am a severely disabled person. I have lived the vast majority of my adult life unable to walk or talk.

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“I feel very vulnerable and worry about people taking advantage of me.

“I feel terrible about the whole matter and completely betrayed by the people I thought were my friends.”

Richards, 61, from St Mary’s Court in Newport denied burglary but changed her plea on the day her trial was due to start.

Baker, 37, from Coverack Road in Newport also denied burglary and changed his plea on the same day.

The pair were both jailed for three years and seven months and were made subject of a restitution order.

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke said: “What you did, both of you, was a despicable thing to do. You betrayed the friendship.

“You targeted him not because of hostility or prejudice towards him but because he had money and you wanted it.

“The vulnerability of Mr Rose was well known to you both. You saw him as an easy target.”

Lisa Bennett, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Richards knew there was a large sum of money kept in the safe.

“Although Baker was the person who actually went into the property Richards is as much to blame and was complicit in the crime.”

Source: https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/17573280.disabled-man-completely-betrayed-by-friends-who-stole-his-16500-life-savings/

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