Gang who conned pensioners given shorter prison terms

First published in Echo News

THREE members of a gang who fleeced two pensioners out of cash for gardening jobs have had their jail terms cut on appeal.

The two housebound victims, from Leigh, were tricked into handing over nearly £150,000 over a number of years for menial jobs that were either not done or for which they were vastly over-charged.

Christopher John Barnes, Allen James Logan and Daniel Chuter were jailed for a total of 14 years in March at Basildon Crown Court after admitting their various roles.

But their sentences were reduced by judges sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, who said their crimes were 'despicable', but the crown court judge had his 'hands tied' by the limited basis on which they admitted their guilt.

The court heard they were part of a gang of six men who cheated a 72-year-old man and a 90-year-old woman out of thousands of pounds over a number of years.

The first target was David Booth, who was persuaded to part with £115,000 over five years after members of the gang went to his home and said they were owed money for gardening work they had completed.

They moved on to Joyce Squires who was duped into handing over around £34,000 from October 2009 onwards.

The court heard Barnes, Logan and Chuter all admitted their involvement and the prosecution accepted a limited basis of plea in each man's case - avoiding the need for the elderly victims to give evidence at a trial.

Barnes, 35, of Jay Gardens, Chiselhurst, was locked up for five years and nine months after admitting two counts of fraud and one of obtaining money by deception. This was reduced to five years.

Logan, 52, of Thackeray Avenue, Tilbury, was jailed for four years and six months for two counts of fraud, but was reduced to four years.

Chuter, 48, of Feenan Highway, Tilbury, was handed four years for obtaining money by deception and fraud. His sentence was cut by six months.

Mr Justice Langstaff said the crown court judge was wrong to treat the case as one over-arching plot, when each man had admitted specific offences and limited amounts of profit from their crimes.

He said: "Taking all matters into account, and recognising the repugnant nature of this crime, but limiting ourselves to the basis of plea, we consider that the sentences imposed must be quashed."

Comments (6)

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9:23am Tue 13 Nov 12

KonArtist says...

Glad there sentences have been cut. Fraud is a clever and talented thing and deserves credit.
Glad there sentences have been cut. Fraud is a clever and talented thing and deserves credit. KonArtist
  • Score: -4

9:43am Tue 13 Nov 12

Nebs says...

Sounds like the judge has been conned as well as the pensioners. A gang of six people defraud one man over 5 years, and it is not allowed to be treated as one big plot.
Sounds like the judge has been conned as well as the pensioners. A gang of six people defraud one man over 5 years, and it is not allowed to be treated as one big plot. Nebs
  • Score: 4

10:07am Tue 13 Nov 12

Brunning999 says...

Our Country is full of people that care and respect others thankfully they are in the majority those people require the law to protect them and the elderly, disadvantaged and disabled.

Unfortunately we have to suffer the evils in life created by moronic selfish lowlife gutter snakes who prey on the les fortunate this also includes morons that congratulate these low life scumbags in the comments sections of newspapers.

The sentences are justified and take it from someone that knows during the time they spend in prison the majority of prisoners like the majority of the public do not like those that prey on the vulnerable and the years spent inside hopefully will be made uncomfortable as possible.

Personally 10 years each meaning 10 is more suitable for low life scum and their supporters.
Our Country is full of people that care and respect others thankfully they are in the majority those people require the law to protect them and the elderly, disadvantaged and disabled. Unfortunately we have to suffer the evils in life created by moronic selfish lowlife gutter snakes who prey on the les fortunate this also includes morons that congratulate these low life scumbags in the comments sections of newspapers. The sentences are justified and take it from someone that knows during the time they spend in prison the majority of prisoners like the majority of the public do not like those that prey on the vulnerable and the years spent inside hopefully will be made uncomfortable as possible. Personally 10 years each meaning 10 is more suitable for low life scum and their supporters. Brunning999
  • Score: 3

12:49pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Lastlaugh... says...

I wonder where stropmag and son of stropmag are!
I wonder where stropmag and son of stropmag are! Lastlaugh...
  • Score: -2

3:51pm Tue 13 Nov 12

TseTse says...

Should have got suspended sentences........ I'd cough up for the rope.
Should have got suspended sentences........ I'd cough up for the rope. TseTse
  • Score: 1

8:19pm Tue 13 Nov 12

John T Pharro says...

Judge "limited amount of profits from their crimes". Shows you what another world these so called upholders of justice live in. It was £150,000 pounds small beer obviously to an overpaid totally out of touch pillock. If the last word is xxxxx fill in you're own.
Judge "limited amount of profits from their crimes". Shows you what another world these so called upholders of justice live in. It was £150,000 pounds small beer obviously to an overpaid totally out of touch pillock. If the last word is xxxxx fill in you're own. John T Pharro
  • Score: 1

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