Conmen jailed for 'cold-blooded fraud' of 96-year-old

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Olukayode Teriba Olukayode Teriba

Two courier conmen who tried to trick a 96-year-old St Albans woman out of her bank card were jailed today (Friday) for what a judge said was a "cold-blooded fraud".

Olukayode Teriba, 20, was caught by plain-clothed police when he went to her home in Villiers Crescent in a taxi to collect her HSBC card and PIN.

His co-defendant Eraste Muake, 18, was found to have the phone number of the partially blind, partially deaf widow, on his mobile phone when he was arrested.

St Albans crown court heard the victim received calls last October from a man who told her that her HSBC card had been used in a fraud to make large purchases. She was told her to hand over the card and her details to a man who would arrive in a taxi.

But she told a neighbour and her son-in-law about the calls and they both called the police. On October 23, plain-clothed officers were waiting and arrested Teriba.

In a statement read to St Albans crown court by prosecutor Tetah Turkson, the victim said: "I feel like getting a hammer and hammering them on the head. Do-gooders should wonder what it would be like if it happened to them."

Muaka of Danesdale Road, Hackney, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation. Teriba of Bouverie Road, Hackney, was convicted by a jury of the same charge.

Judge John Plumstead said: "If this lady's debit card had fallen into the defendants' hands, they could have bled her dry."

He told them: "You played on the vulnerability of a partially blind, partially deaf widow. She was frail and vulnerable and ripe for being persuaded to hand over her details.

"The targeting of vulnerable people must be severely punished. It was a cold-blooded fraud designed to defraud an elderly person."

The judge said Hertfordshire police had "excelled themselves" in sending plain-clothed officers to the house to prevent the fraud.

He jailed Teriba for 30 months. Muake, who was jailed at Cambridge for two and a half years for burglary last month, received a consecutive sentence of 10 months.

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