A MAN who befriended an elderly woman only to con her out of almost £33,000 has been jailed for more than three years.
Michael Patrick Lynch, 38, of Wordsworth Avenue, Widnes, pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud and one count of theft at Liverpool Crown Court this week.
He was jailed for three years and seven months for the crimes against his victim, who he would often refer to as his 'second mother' as he attempted to win her trust.
"Lynch was a confidence trickster who took advantage of a vulnerable woman and deceived her whilst portraying himself as a friendly, caring individual," said Detective Inspector Steve Ball of Merseyside Police.
Contracts, cards and loans
The court heard that Lynch told the woman he was a builder and was employed to conduct work on the roof and back wall of her property, which he did to a poor standard.
He befriended the woman, who was in her 70s and from the Garston area of Liverpool, often referring to her as his 'second mother'.
However, he soon began asking her for financial assistance to get his business 'back on its feet'.
Lynch encouraged and coerced the woman to obtain phone contracts, personal loans and a credit card facility on his behalf.
She also took out a £6,000 bank loan and acted as guarantor for Lynch.
Meanwhile, Lynch told the woman to keep their activities quiet and not tell her family, so as not to worry them.
However, suspicious staff at her bank alerted police when she attended with Lynch to withdraw the loan money so he could buy a new work van.
'Ultimate breach of trust'
"His actions have had a devastating impact on his victim and her ability to trust the people around her," added DI Ball.
"To befriend a vulnerable person and then target them in such a way for monetary gain is shocking.
"Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure in their own homes.
"This was the ultimate breach of trust and I hope that the lady will be able to move on from this now Lynch is behind bars and his actions made public.
"I would encourage anyone who feels they, or a vulnerable person they know, has been a victim of fraud to contact us so that we can take immediate action."