Ruthless bank cashier stole thousands from Wood Green pensioner
13:23 07 June 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
A bank cashier who ruthlessly preyed on a Wood Green pensioner’s fragile mental condition to steal more than £42,000 from his account has been jailed for three years.
Christopher Lewis stole thousands of pounds from Dr Richard Chenley over the course of 18 months, confident the former teacher would not notice because of his health difficulties.
At this time, Dr Chenley had stopped shaving, his hair was unkempt and he only left his house Braemar Avenue once a week to go to the supermarket after he became the victim of a previous con.
Dr Chenley, then 83, would also withdraw small sums from the Barclays Bank, Wood Green, where 21-year-old Lewis worked as a cashier - enabling him to take the money from the keen amateur pianist’s account.
The theft was only discovered when, in 2010, Dr Chenley became so confused and rambling that a solicitor had to take charge of his affairs who found a total of £42,645 had been taken out of the account.
Investigators then discovered £15,000 had been transferred into the accounts of Lewis’s childhood friend Valdevane Da Silva Junior, 22, Culross Close, Tottenham.
Lewis, of Cheshire Road, Wood Green, initially told police he had not stolen any money and blamed “carelessness” but later admitted theft in court.
Lewis’ barrister Emma Rance told the Old Bailey he had taken to money to help out his father’s failing business.
“It was not out of greed but desperation on his part,” she said. “He fully accepts he took advantage of his position as a cashier at Barclays.”
Lewis - who now works as a kitchen salesman - told Ms Rance he had elderly relatives himself and could not believe he “behaved in this way”.
IT technician Da Silva Junior - who was convicted by jury of acquiring criminal property - was paid small amounts of money to launder the cash but said he helped his friend out because of a sense of “misguided loyalty”.
Judge Michael Hunter jailed Lewis for three years and Da Silva Junior for nine months.
He told Lewis: “This really was a very nasty offence indeed.”