Image from Daily Mail
Jon Webb, 45, a policeman, pleaded to five counts of theft, five counts of fraud and one of forgery.
He was called to the victim’s home after she had had a fall. She was aged 94 and widowed. He befriended her and volunteered to visit her in hospital. He visited her on more than 30 occasions.
When she had recovered from her fall, the Daily Mail reported that he ‘gained access to her bank accounts, set up internet banking and applied for a credit card. He closed down a pension account so he could access her life savings.’
He also typed a false will on the victim’s typewriter (the forgery) making him the main beneficiary of her (approximate) £400,000 estate. Additionally, he had stolen a box of war medals (theft)
The prosecutor said: ‘She does not fully understand why the defendant has done this to her. It is very hard for her now to trust anyone.
‘The defendant preyed upon her vulnerability, she trusted him as a friend. She trusted the defendant because he was a policeman and said it is his job to look after people like her.’
Webb’s downfall came as a result of suspicion that he was responsible for another offence – the theft of £1,000 and $500 which had been recovered after a burglary.
It was reported that he resigned from the police in May 2013 after a 20-year career in the force.
Sentencing, Judge Guy Kearl QC said: ‘You have brought disgrace upon yourself and upon the police service for whom you served many years and you have undermined the public confidence in our police service.
‘I am satisfied once you had seen her [the victim] you had selected her as your prey and then you committed sophisticated and planned acts of fraud and theft on a frail and confused elderly lady.’
He was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. He will serve 3 years in custody and 3 years on licence.
There may well have been consecutive sentences for some offences, where for example they were not a part of the same set of offending (e.g. the theft of the £1,000 and $500 recovered from a burglary). What is important however is whether the overall total adequately reflects the offending.
Assuming there was an early guilty plea, the judge started at 9 years, or perhaps slightly more. The aggravating features would have been most certainly the high degree of breach of trust and the targeting of a vulnerable victim. It also appears that this was planned and somewhat sophisticated in its execution.
There is an argument to say that the loss of Webb’s career in the police force should make for some mitigation (there have been cases in the past where courts have reduced sentences on the basis that a consequence of the conviction has been that the defendant would lose their professional career) however by starting at 9 years, it appears such a proposition, if made, had little impact on this judge.