Belfast Telegraph

Serial conman Henry Douglas took pensioner's cash for repair job he never did

By Ashleigh McDonald

A rogue trader who is currently in jail after conning scores of victims was back in court yesterday for targeting a vulnerable elderly man.

Henry Douglas, from Flush Park in Lisburn, was due to stand trial on a charge of fraud by false representation.

However, after consulting with his legal team, the 52-year old – who was jailed in May and branded a cynical conman who exploited his victims' difficulties – pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud, which occurred on September 6 last year.

During a court hearing it emerged that Douglas advertised his services to fix household electrical equipment such as cookers and dishwashers in the Yellow Pages.

He then called out to those who responded to his advert, but after they handed over money for spare parts that he claimed were needed, he would disappear with their money.

Belfast Crown Court heard that his victim from last September, an elderly gentleman from Enniskillen, was able to identify the man who conned him out of £40 after reading an article about Douglas in the Sunday Life newspaper.

A Crown prosecutor said that on September 5, 2013, the pensioner responded to an advert in the Yellow Pages. He rang a mobile number and spoke to a man who called himself Gordon about coming out to fix his cooker.

The following day two men called at the man's home, one of whom identified himself as Gordon. The two men looked at the cooker and told the pensioner a part needed to be replaced, which cost £40. The pensioner handed the money over, but Gordon and the other man didn't return and the cooker was never fixed.

The elderly victim tried calling Gordon on the number in the advert a number of times, and when he finally got through he was told Gordon had lost his details, but he had the part. Gordon told the man he would return, but he didn't, and around a week later the pensioner contacted police.

A few weeks later the pensioner saw an article in Sunday Life about Douglas. The prosecutor said: "He recognised Mr Douglas as being the man Gordon who came to his house and took the £40 from him."

When he was arrested Douglas admitted taking out an ad in the Yellow Pages but denied being the person who went to the pensioner's home and took money from him.

However, he subsequently admitted a charge of fraud by false representation.

Telling Douglas that the victim on this incident was a "vulnerable elderly gentleman", Judge David McFarland handed him a 21-month sentence.

Half of the sentence will be spent in prison with the remaining half on supervised licence upon his release.

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