Bradford pair tell court they had no suspicion about cheques paid into accounts

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Paige Marshall Paige Marshall

The daughter and the partner of a man accused of fleecing the old and frail with bogus building work told a court they believed cheques he asked them to put through their back accounts were legitimate.

Stewart Marshall’s daughter, Paige Marshall, 20, and his long-term partner Emma Croasdell, are alleged to have allowed him to use their bank accounts for depositing criminal money.

Heroin addict Stewart Marshall, 44, and Len Lawrence, 49, are accused of a burglary conspiracy in which vulnerable victims with an average age of 90 were targeted. People with dementia, mobility problems and sight loss were among the victims who had thousands of pounds stolen, it is alleged.

The court has heard one of the victims was 90-year-old widow Joan Cottam, of Embsay, Skipton, who issued eight cheques, losing more than £11,000, to replace windows.

Prosecutor Andrew Kershaw has told Bradford Crown Court that Paige Marshall, a part-time student and social worker at the University of Bradford, cashed a cheque for £1,860 and two days later her father registered a Saab vehicle valued at the same amount. Her mother, Croasdell, a health care assistant at Bradford Royal Infirmary, is alleged to have cashed two cheques, to a value of more than £2,000.

Paige Marshall told the jury yesterday she thought the cheque for £1,860 was for work he was doing.

She told the court: “He asked me to do him a favour and I did him a favour. I had no reason to suspect him or accuse him of doing something wrong.”

Asked whether her father had deceived her, she replied: “He must have done.”

Croasdell, 38, told the court she let her partner use her bank account because he did not have one of his own. She said he paid a cheque into her account. Croasdell said she never saw the cheque but was not concerned where it came from and was not in any way suspicious. She thought he had got a cheque from work.

Croasdell told the court she thought Marshall did outdoor gardening work but they lived separate lives and she did not take much notice. She said she would not have allowed Marshall to use her account if she had suspected the cheques were not legitimate.

Stewart Marshall, of Mayfield Rise, Wyke, Bradford; and Lawrence, of Bush Hill Fold, Queensbury, have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to burgle.

Marshall and his daughter, also of Mayfield Rise, deny converting criminal property, the cheque for £1,860. Croasdell, of Mayfield Rise, has pleaded not guilty to arranging to control criminal property for her partner.

The trial continues.

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