Belfast Telegraph

Fake plumber conned OAPs to fund habits

A man who masqueraded as a plumber conned up to seven pensioners into handing over money to fund his drinking and gambling, the High Court has heard.

All but one of Edward Murphy's alleged victims were aged in their 80s or 90s, according to the prosecution.

The 42-year-old, of Stewartstown Road, Dunmurry, was charged with fraud by false representation over a bogus call at an elderly lady's home in Lisburn.

But a judge was told Murphy has also given details of six other similar scams he carried out.

He was stopped in a car by police a week after the incident at the 84-year-old woman's home.

The pensioner had let him in when he claimed to be the plumber she was expecting, prosecutor Kate McKay said.

Murphy told her the work would cost £570 and he needed the money up front to buy materials, the court heard.

Mrs McKay said he drove the woman to the bank, took the cash and promised to come back to complete the work, but never returned.

Following his arrest, he was also charged with driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

“He has used the taking into consideration scheme for six other similar dishonesty offences,” Mrs McKay added.

“With the exception of one victim aged 63, the rest were all in their 80s or one in his 90s.”

Michael Boyd, defending, accepted they were “very mean” crimes for which his client was almost certain to be jailed.

Seeking bail because the case may not be finalised until September, the barrister said Murphy has admitted his guilt.

“The offences were committed to fund his alcohol addiction,” Mr Boyd said.

The barrister said Murphy had overheard the 84-year-old woman talking about her plumbing problem and then decided to pretend to be the expected repair man.

“He instructs me that he half intended to do the work, but also that the money he was to get, he was going to spend on drink and gambling,” Mr Boyd added.

“He knew at the bottom of his heart he wasn't going to do that.”

Bail was refused due to the risk of further offending.

Mr Justice Gillen said: “These offences are despicable, mean-spirited, cowardly and preying on the elderly.

“Experience has shown these offences can have a long-lasting affect on the victims.”

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