Cruel Hartlepool conman stole cash from 95-year-old with dementia

Michael Gales
Michael Gales

A heartless conman who conned a 95-year-old woman out of £750 has been jailed for more than two years.

Michael Gales persuaded his victim, who suffered from dementia, to part with her bank card and PIN number, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The victim died a few months after the offence, the court heard.

Gales’ sentence will run consecutively to four years he received for similar offences last month.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said the victim lived alone in Hartlepool

“The alarm was raised when her carer arrived for a daily visit to find the front door open, and Mrs Thompson in a distressed state.

“Her bank card was lying on the ground outside the property.

“Enquiries with the bank found the card had been used twice at a cash point.

“Gales was identified from CCTV footage taken from the machine.”

The court heard the woman died a few months later.

“Her son says the incident played on her mind,” added Mr Towers. “He is in no doubt it adversely affected the last few months of her life.”

Gales, 27, of Ilkley Grove, Hartlepool, admitted fraud on August 1, 2015, and a separate offence of dangerous driving when he led police on a short chase through Hartlepool.

Gales was bailed at the time, and fled to Spain, returning earlier this year.

The court heard he was sentenced to four years in prison at Newcastle Crown Court last month for his part in a gang who targeted elderly people, including a pensioner from Ryhope who lost £30,000.

Gales was also involved in an attempt to con money from 87-year-old Sunderland woman Joan Barnett.

Mrs Barnett died several months after one of the gang - Gales’ uncle William Gales, 44 - allegedly pushed her over.

William Gales was charged with manslaughter, but died before he could stand trial.

Paul Cleasby, defending Michael Gales, said: “It was Michael Gales who found the body of his uncle.

“He couldn’t deal with that, so fled to Spain.

“He has now returned, and wants to wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start after he has served the inevitable lengthy prison term.

“Mr Gales has a partner, two children, and another on the way.”

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton jailed Gales for 25 months.