A vulnerable pensioner in her 80s was harassed day and night at her Kensington home by a gang of men who frightened her into handing over money during a seven-month campaign of intimidation.
Three men, the most persistent offenders from the group who aggressively persecuted the besieged woman, have been convicted of harassment.
Andrew McCrae, 44 of Warwick Road SW5, was the first one to take advantage of the woman’s generosity when he met her while he was begging in the street and she gave him £5.
McCrae tried to befriend the woman by offering to carry her shopping when they met at a later date and when he uncovered her address began to constantly turn up at her house asking for money claiming it was for clothes and tools but spending it on drugs.
The woman was left feeling unsafe in her own home by the men and felt too scared to refuse their repeated requests for money.
PC Colin McMeekin of Kensington & Chelsea’s Community Safety Unit, who led the investigation, said: “These men preyed on an elderly woman who was trying to be charitable, but these men exploited her good nature and harassed her, taking her money under false pretences.
“The victim was made to feel that she was being pursued in her own home and the custodial sentences are fully deserved.”
McCrae was sentenced to 17 weeks imprisonment and is subject to a restraining order banning him from causing the victim further distress.
He was sentenced alongside Tom Lonsdale, 44 of Cromwell Road, Kensington, who pleaded guilty to one count of harassment and will serve seven weeks in prison.
Lonsdale also repeatedly visited the woman’s home demanding money, despite her pleas to be left alone, between January 1 and July 11 this year.
The third convicted man, Joseph Carlisle, 27, of Wimbledon Hill Road, Wimbledon also pleaded guilty to harassment and three counts of fraud.
He was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday, 31 August to 11 and a half months’ imprisonment.
Carlisle was also part of the group who harassed the victim, in his case to buy drugs, but he also made fraudulent claims that he needed money for various other fraudulent reasons, including for taxi fare.
Further enquires are in hand to trace other men who were also involved in intimidating and harassing the woman.