One of the consequences of addiction is the fact that the affected person often becomes selfish, manipulative and even ruthless in his or her efforts to get their hands on whatever it is they desire. When addiction has a person in its grip, it can be difficult for this individual to think of anything else but their need for drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling, or whatever it is they happen to be addicted to. For those with a gambling addiction, the need for constant access to cash can lead to a host of problems.
Some gambling addicts will end up with mountains of debt as they take out loans, credit cards and remortgages in an effort to keep up with their habit. Others will resort to borrowing or even stealing from others so that they can continue gambling when their own funds run out. This is exactly what Christopher Owen did when he swindled vulnerable pensioner Dilys Jones out of her life savings.
Owen was jailed for three-and-a-half years after befriending and then stealing from Dilys when he worked as a taxi driver for the disabled woman; she has epilepsy and cerebral palsy. He spent years taking Dilys to hospital appointments and the shops, and she began to rely on his help. She said, “Being severely disabled I needed lifts most days to get out – I began to trust Christopher like family. I lived in a 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.”
After gaining Dilys’ trust, Owen was given the pensioner’s chequebook and cash card to use on her behalf. However, unbeknown to Dilys, Owen was transferring her money to his own account; over nine months, he took around £43,000 and left her with just £13. He used the money to fund his gambling addiction and a lavish lifestyle.
Dilys was left heartbroken when her one-time friend was found guilty and jailed. She said that he attempted to get her to drop the charges against him by declaring that he loved her. This was after he denied the charges initially, hoping that she would withdraw her complaint.
As well as the prison sentence, Owen was given a restraining order preventing him from going anywhere near Dilys.
Dilys spoke of how her taxi fares had initially been around £150 per month, but Owen told her that they were increasing to £500 per month. She explained, “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.”
Dilys only discovered the theft when she tried to move home but was informed that the rent on her current home was in arrears. She could not understand how this could have happened as she knew she had plenty of money in her bank account. However, on checking, she discovered that over £43,000 was missing. She 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.”
Dilys has spoken out to warn others who she feels could end up being deceived as she was. 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.”
She went on to say, “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.”
Although Dilys has had some of the money returned to her by the bank, the experience will undoubtedly stay with her for a long time. As for Christopher Owen, his life has changed forever now because of his actions while in the clutches of a devastating gambling addiction.
It is important to get help for any type of addiction as soon as possible, particularly a gambling addiction, which can quickly spiral out of control and lead to disastrous consequences for so many people. If you or someone you love is struggling with gambling addiction, contact us here at UKAT today. We have a number of clinics offering superb detox and rehabilitation programmes to help those affected by this terrible illness. For more information, call us now.
Source: Taxi driver conned disabled woman out of her life savings leaving her with just £13 (Wales Online)
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