Fraudster fleeced 80-year-old man of almost £4,000 after befriending him in West Yorkshire park

Crow Nest Park, where the victim met Shabana Ellis.
Crow Nest Park, where the victim met Shabana Ellis.
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A fraudster stole almost £4,000 from a vulnerable 80-year-old man after befriending him and moving into his home.

A court heard how Shabana Ellis withdrew large sums of money from the victim’s bank account to spend on drugs.

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David Ward, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court how Ellis, 38, befriended the victim after meeting him in Crow Nest Park, Dewsbury.

As the friendship grew Ellis began asking the man if she could borrow money from him which she promised to lay back.

Mr Ward said Ellis started borrowing small amounts of cash, between £10 and £20, but then began asking for larger sums of up to £200 at a time.

The victim would give Ellis his bank card and PIN number which she used to obtain cash.

Ellis also moved into the victim’s home with her son after telling him that she was having trouble with her boyfriend.

On one occasion she told the pensioner she was going to use his bank card to repay money to him but she instead withdrew more cash.

The prosecutor said the man eventually realised he was a victim of financial crime and contacted police.

Ellis was interviewed by police and denied any wrongdoing.

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She claimed she had intended to pay the money back and that the victim only made the allegation against her when he found out she was seeing another man.

Ellis, of Heckmondwike Road, Dewsbury, pleaded guilty to fraud.

The offending took place between May 25 and August 8 last year.

Colin Byrne, mitigating, said the deception was carried out to fund her drug habit.

He added that Ellis had managed to turn her life around since she her arrest.

She was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

She was also ordered to take part in 15-day rehabilitation activity programme and made the subject of a curfew order for three months.

Recorder Catherine Silverton said: “This was a mean offence and you took advantage of a vulnerable man who showed you and your son nothing but kindness.”