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Cancer patient’s heating money stolen

A TERMINALLY-ILL woman was ‘devastated’ after finding out that a man she befriended had stolen £500 which she had been saving to pay for heating oil, magistrates in Llanelli heard on Thursday (Aug 3).

The court heard that 40-year-old Christopher James, of Kidwelly, had taken the woman’s cash card without her consent, and withdrawn the maximum of £250 on two occasions over two days while she thought that the card had been lost.

James pleaded guilty to two charges of theft.

Prosecuting, Lisa Jones described the offences as a clear breach of trust. She explained that the complainant had become aware that her bank card was being used after she contacted the bank when she thought she had lost her card. She found out that the card had been used at the cashpoint of Kidwelly Co-op.

Police checked the CCTV, and told the complainant that the money had been taken by a man who had previously accompanied her to the cash machine when she checked her balance.

She identified James, who she said she had known for around a year. She explained that she was suffering from terminal cancer, and James drove her to medical appointments as well as taking her shopping.

In a statement to the police, she described James as a friend, and said she ‘couldn’t believe’ that he would do this to her. She said that she no longer felt comfortable using cashpoints, and explained that she had intended to spend the money on buying heating oil – something James knew.

In an interview, James initially denied the thefts, and said that he knew the complainant’s PIN number because he had taken money out for her before.

The court heard that he had a previous conviction for burglary in 2005.

Magistrates adjourned sentencing to allow the probation service to write an all-options report.

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Jason Cooper

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