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Conman swindled Buttershaw widow, 83, of cash
A bogus odd job man who “shamelessly and despicably” ripped off an 83-year-old widow has been jailed for four years.
Gavin Windle fleeced his vulnerable victim numerous times, turning up at her Buttershaw home drunk and threatening to pull the wires out of her TV set if she did not give him £45, Bradford Crown Court heard.
He demanded £20 after pretending he was washing windows for charity and another £20 to cancel the arrangement.
Windle, 34, of Orleans Street, Buttershaw, had spent eight of the past ten years behind bars, including serving a three-year stretch for house breaking and five and a half years for robbery.
He was arrested on May 16 after being challenged by the widow’s worried neighbours who saw him staggering about with screwdrivers and kept an eye on him until the police arrived.
Windle was held in custody until yesterday’s hearing.
He pleaded guilty to three offences of fraud, reflecting numerous occasions when he swindled the elderly woman over almost a year.
Prosecutor Andrew Stranex said Windle’s victim, who lived alone, had a very poor memory and it was impossible to work out exactly how much he had taken. Although the sums were not very large, they meant a lot to her.
He had been to her home many times, posing as a window cleaner and a Sky box repair man.
Windle had made no comment to the police after he was arrested.
Windle had a string of convictions for dishonesty and two for possession of heroin.
Mr Stranex said the frauds were aggravated because he targeted a vulnerable victim.
Windle’s solicitor Andrew Walker told the court that the three months he had spent in custody had given him time for sober reflection.
“He feels thoroughly ashamed of himself,” Mr Walker said.
Judge David Hatton QC told Windle: “You shamelessly and despicably exploited and preyed upon an elderly and vulnerable lady who you, at least on one occasion threatened, and you clearly targeted her for those purposes.”