Man ‘preys on’ deaf pensioner for money

Jose Silva 150578
Jose Silva 150578

A conman has been jailed for defrauding a pensioner in what a judge has called a ‘cynical and callous way to prey on the elderly’.

Jose Silva, 35, of Birches Road, Horsham, was jailed for five years at Lewes Crown Court on Friday December 20 for stealing money from a deaf octogenarian.

At a previous hearing he had pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation, burglary and possessing class A drugs.

He was remanded in custody while pre-sentence reports were prepared.

“What you have done is so cynical, so callous - you didn’t prey upon this woman once, you did it time and time again,” said Judge Shani Barnes.

Silva was accused of visiting an 86-year-old woman’s home on a number of occasions. Once he turned up with another man and they intimidated her into handing over her debit card.

Having got the pensioner, who lives alone, to hand over her debit card, the father-of-one then withdrew money from her account to fund his drug addiction.

Defence barrister Robin Griffiths said: “When falling in with the wrong sort of company he was introduced into a world of class A drugs.

“Although he does work it’s not sufficient to indulge his cravings for class A drugs.

“He acknowledges that his drug addiction is the central issue of his dependency.”

He asked for his client to be ordered to complete a drug rehab programme, rather than being sent to prison.

“He said to me in the cells earlier: ‘I really need this.’

“Your Honour may think it’s very much in the public interest that he begins to get the kind of support that he needs.

“What is proposed is intensive, and it addresses not only his drug dependency but other aspects of his life.’’

He added: “He needs to get back on his feet.”

Sentencing, Judge Shani Barnes said: “Whatever your problems have been you, in a cynical and quite callous way, have chosen to prey on the vulnerable and the elderly, and on this occasion you have surpassed yourself because she was 86-years-old, deaf and alone.

“You went with another man which must have intimidated her. You took her debit card and withdrew money from her account.

“You took part in a terrible preying on an elderly lady whose life will never go back to the same again.

“She now lives in fear in her own home. You cannot prey on the vulnerable.

“The court sees days in and days out of serious drug offences and the results of them.

“You have chosen a course of offending on a very serious need. Given the really cruel way you committed these offences, you don’t even come close to being able to have a suspended sentence.”