Croydon conman stole ashes of victim’s husband

A conman who distracted elderly women while an accomplice stole their valuables – in one case the ashes of her husband – has been jailed.

Christopher Henry, 54, of Blenheim Park Road, South Croydon pleaded guilty on September 25 at Woolwich Crown Court to three offences, including one in Greenwich.

He was sentenced at the same court on Friday, October 4 to six years’ imprisonment.

The first of the incidents, which all happened during 2018, took place on the morning of Friday, July 27 at the home of a 98-year-old woman in Purley.

The victim had woken up after hearing noises, and caught Henry riffling through possessions in her bedroom.

Henry made his escape, and pushed the victim on his way out, as he fled with numerous items of jewellery.

She pressed her care button and police arrived shortly afterwards.

The second incident happened a few weeks later, on Tuesday, August 14 in Greenwich.

Henry told the 83-year-old victim that he was a plumber and was there to fix a leak in the downstairs flat, which he said could be coming from her bathroom or kitchen.

The woman welcomed him in to take a look, and he instructed her to remove everything from under her kitchen sink.

He then asked to see the pipes in another room and struck up a conversation with the victim about the decoration in a means to distract her.

He then directed her back to the kitchen, where Henry pointed out a leak under the sink, which hadn’t been there before.

Henry then made a swift exit, promising he’d come back the next day to fix the leak.

The victim discovered that jewellery, £50 in cash and ornaments containing her husband’s ashes had been taken.

The third incident was on Monday, November 5 when an 86-year-old women was again home alone at her flat in St Albans.

At around 1.30pm the woman answered a knock at the door by a middle aged man, who explained that he was a plumber responding to a call out from her neighbours who had water coming into their property.

He said he needed access to her premises so he could check under the kitchen sink for the leak.

The victim accompanied the man into her kitchen and helped move items out from under the sink so he could access the pipework.

Whilst she was distracted in the kitchen and unknown to her, a second man entered her property.

The second man searched her bedroom and took five gold rings and a £20 note.

Officers from the Specialist Crime south opened an investigation and Henry was found due to a combination of CCTV enquires, phone work and witnesses.

Detective Constable Robert Costigan, who led the investigation, said: “This was an abhorrent crime planned on three vulnerable women. Two of whom were simply happy to help a plumber with his work.

“He carefully planned and targeted them in their homes, a place where they should feel the most safe and secure.

“Not only have these women been made to feel fear in their home, they have lost valuable items that hold memories for each. One women has even lost her husband’s ashes.

“I’m very happy with this sentence and I hope it can bring some closure to each victim.”

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