Manchester

John Burke: Fraudster who stole £160k from elderly woman is jailed

John Burke Image copyright GMP
Image caption John Burke stole the money from the woman over five years

A "callous fraudster" who conned an elderly woman out of £160,000 by convincing her he would invest her savings has been jailed.

John Burke stole money from the 83-year-old from Warrington, Cheshire, over five years, using the cash to buy a Mercedes and a new kitchen.

Burke, 74, of Teal Close in Altrincham, admitted fraud by abuse of position.

He was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

Burke befriended the woman and gained her trust between 2007 and 2012, persuading her to give him cheques, Greater Manchester Police said.

He promised she would see good returns on her investment, despite not being a registered accountant or qualified to give financial advice.

'Vulnerable woman'

Burke was arrested in January 2015 after a family solicitor became concerned about a lack of paperwork and interest payments from the victim's purported investments.

An investigation then found he had stolen £160,000 and prepared a homemade will, which the victim had signed, appointing him as sole executor.

As well as the car and kitchen, Burke had spent most of the money on loans to another company, paying off his own debts, loaning money to a friend and other living expenses.

By 2014, the woman had been repaid just over £25,500 from the accounts held by Burke.

Det Con Laura Watson said Burke was a "callous fraudster" who had "gained and then obliterated" the trust of a "vulnerable" woman.

She added: "This is a sad case where an elderly woman has lost her savings and has been left extremely upset by what has happened."

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