Bridgend: Conman took £98,000 from pensioner, court told

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An alleged conman gave a 71-year-old widow “a couple of glasses of wine” before taking her to a bank to apply for a £25,000 loan, a court has heard.

Layne Perry, who was living in a caravan in Bridgend county but claimed to be a rich businessman, is accused of 21 counts of theft and fraud.

He allegedly swindled Sharan Jones out of more than £98,000 in savings and targeted two others.

Mr Perry denies all the charges at Cardiff Crown Court.

Cardiff Crown Court heard on Thursday that Mrs Jones, from Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf, thought of Mr Perry as a member of her family and trusted him “implicitly”.

Mrs Jones said he drove her to her bank in Aberdare to apply for the loan and waited outside in the car. She said he gave her the wine because she was anxious about asking for the money.

“I was really nervous,” she said. “He told me: ‘You’re not doing anything wrong.’

“I don’t know what he wanted it for.”

Giving evidence in the witness box from behind a screen, Mrs Jones said she first met Mr Perry a year after the death of her husband Adrian, as her son was in a relationship with Mr Perry’s sister Keira.

She said her husband had always looked after financial matters, so she did not not know how to use internet banking and had no idea how much money was in her accounts.

Mr Perry, who is originally from London, told her he was wealthy. He took her to horse races.

“He lived the horse life,” she said. “He loved champagne.”

She said as time went on he took control of her bank accounts.

“He told me not to worry,” said Mrs Jones. “He would take my letters unopened, I just gave them to him.”

The court was told £98,350 was taken from her in total and Mr Perry also took out loans and credit cards in her name.

Emma Harris, prosecuting, listed cash withdrawals made from Mrs Jones’ accounts of sums including £1,500, £6,000 and £10,000.

She asked her: “Do you recognise any of those figures?”

Mrs Jones replied: “No, no, never never. I wouldn’t have taken money out like that, no.”

‘It was like something off the telly’

The jury was told that Mr Perry told Mrs Jones he was going to buy a country estate in Gloucestershire and planned to live there with his partner Serena, who would train horses.

He told her he wanted Mrs Jones to go with the couple.

“He cared so much for me. I was going to have a new life in Gloucestershire,” she said.

“In my mind’s eye, it was like something off the telly. I embraced it. I thought I’d have company for the rest of my life.”

Mrs Jones put her house in Aberdare on the market and Mr Perry advised her to go for a quick sale.

The property was marketed at £119,000 but Mrs Jones said she thought the real value was approximately £150,000.

“He said to go for a quick sale because he had plenty of money. He said we’d be moving soon,” she said.

She added that Mr Perry did not want her to tell her son Theo about her plans to sell, and contact between mother and son had became less frequent.

The trial continues.

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