Brothers spared jail after stealing �2,000 from elderly Wanstead woman

Two brothers who abused the kindness of an elderly woman by stealing more than �2,000 from her were spared jail on Tuesday.

Paul Allen, 36, told 78-year-old Joan Barmby of Wanstead a series of “sob stories” before asking to borrow �1,300.

The court heard they had met after he cold-called at her house in July 2009, offering to wash her car.

After this, he began visiting her regularly to borrow money and she loaned him �5 each time on the understanding he would pay her back.

When the retired special needs teacher asked for the �1,300, Paul Allen told her his brother Dean, 40, of Chigwell Road, Woodford Green, would paint her house as a repayment, but did not tell the pensioner they were related.

You may also want to watch:

When Dean arrived at her home, he asked to borrow her card to pay for materials, but used it to withdraw �750.

Judge Martyn Zeidman said: “I have no doubt you both deserve a prison sentence. You have both abused the kindness of a good 78-year-old woman.”

Most Read

But he spared them jail after hearing they both had drug addictions and mental health problems.

Both were given concurrent year-long jail sentences for each of the counts they admitted, suspended for 18 months, and 60 hours of unpaid work.

Paul, of Sultan Road, Wanstead admitted stealing �1,300 by fraud, and brother Dean admitted two counts of theft, amounting to �750.

Speaking after trial Mrs Barmby said: “I felt very alone and didn’t even tell my friends what was going on.

“With all the promises Paul had given, I still believed I could help him and that I would get my money back.”

Friend Pat Chaney, who alerted police, said: “This has had a detrimental effect on Joan’s wellbeing, both physically and emotionally.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter