Taxi driver who fleeced £43,000 from trusting disabled passenger's life savings to fund his gambling addiction leaving her with just £13 is jailed
Dilys Jones relied on Christopher Owen to ferry her around to shops and hospital
Pair knew each other for years but Owen left her with just £13 in her account
Driver, from Penarth, Wales, was jailed for three and a half years for deception
Dilys Jones, 62, was fleeced out of £43,000 by friend an driver Christopher Owen
A taxi driver who fleeced £43,000 from a disabled passenger's life savings to fund his gambling habit has been jailed
Dilys Jones, 62, relied on Christopher Owen to ferry her around to shops and hospital for years from her home.
But the driver, 48, from Penarth in Wales, conned her out of her life savings to fund his lavish lifestyle - leaving her with just £13 in her account.
Owen was jailed for three-and-a-half years for deception of the trusting passenger at Cardiff Crown Court.
Ms Jones, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, said: 'Being severely disabled I needed lifts most days to get out - I began to trust Christopher like family.
'I lived in flat with supported living and a warden but Christopher would take me shopping to Asda and when I went for hospital appointments he would even come in and see the doctors with me.'
However, Owen began to take money from his passenger after being trusted to used her cash card and cheque book.
He began transferring money out of her bank account and emptied her life savings over nine months.
Prosecutor Matthew Evans said: 'Owen even turned up at Dylis' flat declaring his love for her in an attempt to get her to withdraw the charges, something the vulnerable woman then tried to do.'
Owen initially denied the charges in the hope Ms Jones would drop her complaints.
However, he later pleaded guilty to three charges of theft and 14 charges of fraud and one charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Judge Eleri Rees said: 'It is painful to watch Miss Jones struggle with the emotional turmoil.
'What you have done to her has caused her real hardship, not only in monetary terms but also in her feeling of self worth.
Speaking after the case, Ms Jones said Owen told her that taxi fares were becoming more expensive - hiking the cost up from £150 a month to £500.
Owen was jailed for three-and-a-half years for deception of the trusting passenger at Cardiff Crown Court
She said: 'Christopher told me that taxi fares were going up. My taxi bill was normally around £150 a month to the company he worked for - now it was going up to £500.
'I told him that was a lot and he gave me a weak sympathetic smile.'
Owen's deception was revealed when Ms Jones wanted to move house and was told by a rent officer that she was in arrears.
She believed she had plenty of savings in her Nationwide bank account - but the £43,281 had vanished.
Ms Jones said: 'All I could do was look in horror as she showed me dozens and dozens of withdrawals from my account - £500 a time, sometimes more.'
'This was a gross abuse of her vulnerability, her generosity and her trusting nature.'
Ms Jones now wants to warn others who might fall victim to Owen's deceit.
She said: 'He had groomed me to gain access to my money.
'He'd even gone as far as telling me he loved me and cared for me - all the time robbing me blind. It was shameful.
'He had squandered my money to fund a lavish lifestyle - going on foreign holidays as well as having a spiralling gambling addiction. I heard he had lost £16,000 on gambling in one night.
'I've even had to rely on the local food bank for groceries and even a local emergency fund with the council for some cash. I feel humiliated and so stupid and I feel very, very angry.
'I would just like to share my story and to say to all women out there - if you ever set eyes on Christopher Owen grab your purse and run the other way as fast as you can.'
Ms Jones has since been reimbursed £31,000 by the Nationwide Building Society.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z4UutDP8Lk