Accused stole 25,000 from woman he befriended

A YOUNG man, who swindled an elderly woman he helped, out of 25,000, was jailed yesterday by a sheriff who described it as "a sense of betrayal by someone she had regarded as a friend."
Adam Jones, 29 got to know Barbara Fletcher after she moved north to Caithness, from England.
She had sold her home there, at "a fairly substantial profit" but was not confident about dealing with the technical aspects of online banking and got Jones to set up individual savings accounts for her and pay the money in.
But he had other ideas and started transferring sums into his personal account
Fiscal Fraser Matheson said that the bank became suspicious and froze Jones's account. He had misappropriated the 25,000 during the seven-month period between December 2014 and July 2015.
Police armed with a search warrant visited Jones at his home in Coach Road, Wick, and discovered a substantial sum of money, various bank statements and expensive electrical items which had been purchased using 60-year-old Ms Fletcher's money.
Jones admitted stealing the cash and was jailed for four months.
Solicitor Sylvia MacLennan said that Jones who suffers from autism, had difficulties which led him to arrive at "irrational conclusions". The accused had raised a repayment of 1,205 and was actively selling items he had purchased to raise further cash.
Miss MacLennan appealed to Sheriff Andrew Berry to consider a non-custodial sentence on Jones and not jeopardise the stability he had established in his life, since, through getting work and entering into a relationship.
However, Sheriff Berry said that a letters from Ms Fletcher and the accused's GP made "very sad reading" and added that the deception had clearly been agonising for her.
He added: "Over the period of time, the amount you took, had a very real effect on your victim"