Sisters who posed as murdered heiress Carole Waugh spared jail

Two sisters who posed as murdered heiress Carole Waugh to plunder her fortune on lavish spending sprees smiled and hugged each other as they were spared jail on Friday.

Fraudsters Debra Burke, 49, of Claybury Broadway, Clayhall, and Elaine Perkins, 52, of Crossbow Road, Hainault, were hired by killer Rakesh Bhayani to take out loan and cash cheques on Ms Waugh’s account.

Armed with the millionairess’ bank cards and identity documents, the two women dressed up as Ms Waugh for shopping trips to Selfridges and Westfield and visits to her banks.

Ms Waugh, 49, had been brutally murdered by conman Bhayani, 41, in April 2012, in a calculated plan to raid her bank accounts to clear his gambling debts.

The two woman were convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey, but Recorder Martyn Levett said he believed they had both been taken in by the charms of Bhayani and his accomplice in the fraud Nicholas Kutner.

He said Perkins had been “blinded” by a wishful-thinking mantra she had read in a book, while Burke accepted Bhayani’s lies because she was desperate for friendship.

“You had no knowledge of Carole Waugh’s untimely death, and no doubt had either of you had that knowledge, you may not have become involved in this particular fraud”, he said.

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Perkins was given a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service.

Burke was given a three year community order, including supervision sessions and 100 hours community service.

Perkins denied six counts of fraud by false representation, and two counts of aiding and abetting an offender in fraud by false representation. Burke denied three counts of fraud by false representation.