Hartlepool thief who stole £50,000 from vulnerable pensioner ordered to pay back just £2,000

A woman who conned an elderly man out of £50,000 has been ordered to repay £2,052.

By Rob Freeth
Friday, 31 May, 2019, 16:01
Victoria Woolston

Cleveland Police seized the money from Victoria Woolston, described by a judge as 'wicked'.

The cash will be repaid to her victim who has learning difficulties and a low IQ.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Woolston was jailed for two years and five months at Teesside Crown Court earlier this year.

The court heard she befriended her victim via social media.

He was living in Hertfordshire at the time, but moved to Hartlepool to be nearer to Woolston.

Prosecutor Martin Towers said 'many' cash transfers were made, including one for £23,000 which the victim said he could not remember.

The victim's brother, who now has power of attorney over his affairs, said his brother's condition made him easily led.

Woolston, 25, formerly of Sheriff Street, Hartlepool, admitted six charges of theft between February, 2014 and March, 2016.

The court was told there had been substantial delays in the case because Woolston had successfully fooled two psychiatrists into ruling she was unfit to plead.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Both doctors later reversed their decision.

Judge Sean Morris told Woolston: "You have been leading this court and various psychiatrists a merry dance.

"They ruled you were unfit to plead, but then changed their minds, which they were right to do.

"It is quite clear you are a sophisticated young woman when it comes to deceiving people."

Woolston was back before the court via video link from prison earlier this week for a hearing to determine if she has any assets which can be seized as the proceeds of crime.

Following out of court negotiations between Mr Towers and Victoria Lamballe, defending, Judge Sean Morris made an agreed ruling that Woolston's benefit from crime was £50,000.

Her realisable assets are £2,052 seized by police at the time of her arrest.

The judge ordered £2,052 to be paid to the victim within three months.

Woolston faces an extra four months in prison if the money is not paid.