Jailed: callous thief who befriended a 98-year-old man and plundered his life savings
A callous Wythenshawe thief who preyed on a 98-year-old man to steal more than £36,000 of his life savings has been jailed for more than four years.
David Flaherty, aged 50, of Woodend Road, Benchill stole the cash after striking up a friendship with his victim and also helped himself to jewellery belonging to his late wife.
Flaherty pleaded guilty to ten charges of fraud by abuse of position and one of theft at Manchester Crown Court and was jailed for four years and four months.
The offender struck up a relationship with the victim after his wife became the man’s carer, and slowly built up trust as he helped out with the household chores.
But once he had become friends with the victim, Flaherty started to abuse his position.
Between March 2011 and June 2013 Flaherty used the victim’s current account and credit card to steal almost £5000, using the cards to pay for his phone bill, Sky TV, mortgage and even a holiday to Benidorm.
Some of the money had been given willingly by the victim, who thought he was lending Flaherty money to buy building supplies.
Other payments were made by the offender without consent.
During the same period, Flaherty convinced the victim to write two cheques totalling £13,000, again with the intention of helping him buy building supplies.
Of that £13,000 Flaherty spent just £287 on supplies for his work as a builder, with the rest spent on funding his lifestyle.
But the majority of the thefts occurred as a result of Flaherty’s withdrawals from cash machines, with almost £16,000 taken from the victim’s account between June 2011 and June 2013.
Not content with ransacking the victim’s life savings, Flaherty also used his position of home carer to steal valuable items of jewellery, taking two pocket watches, a necklace and a diamond ring belonging to the victim’s late wife.
The value of these items was approximately £1500, and Flaherty pawned them for his own personal gain.
Detective Constable Shaun Nicholls said: “This was a despicable and selfish act against a vulnerable member of our society.
“Worse than that, it was a deliberate and callous breach of trust of an elderly man who was supposed to be the offender’s friend.
“Flaherty built up a relationship with the victim, gained access to his financial details and started to use his life savings as his own personal trust fund.
“Not content with fraudulently borrowing large sums of money, Flaherty flagrantly used the victim’s debit and credit cards to fund his own lifestyle and when that was not enough, even resorted to stealing jewellery he knew to have enormous sentimental value.
“The victim worked hard all of his life to ensure he could enjoy a comfortable retirement and this sentence sends a message to those who think they can abuse a position of great trust and take advantage of the hard work of others.”