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Former Worcestershire landlord duped pensioners out of more than £260,000
A FORMER Worcestershire pub landlord has been jailed for fleecing two elderly people out of more than £260,000 leaving them “destitute”.
Darren Aston, the former licensee of the Vernon Arms in Hanbury, duped the pensioners – a 92-year-old woman and her 87-year-old male friend - by “slyly” weaving his way into their lives and then abusing his Power of Attorney position to funnel cash into his failing estate agent business.
The 42-year-old, who ran Key Moves in Yardley, acted as a Good Samaritan by running errands for the couple.
But Birmingham Crown Court heard 42-year-old Aston was cynically paving a path to the couple’s life savings.
He initially denied two counts of fraud but changed his plea and admitted the offences on day one of his Birmingham Crown Court trial.
He was jailed for five years on Thursday, February 21.
Summing up, His Honour Judge Inman said Aston’s actions had caused “extreme harm” to his victims.
He added his 92-year-old victim had hoped to live out her days at home but could no longer afford the care to do that.
The pensioners first met Aston in 2006 after popping into his Yardley estate agency to pick up free local newspapers.
It became a weekly visit and by 2008 he’d been written into their wills and granted Power of Attorney.
Investigating officer DC Vicky Henry, said: “Aston slyly weaved his way into the couple’s confidence, he played the role of a helping hand there to offer support, but all along he was targeting their money to help dig himself out of a financial hole.
“We will recover as much of the money as possible from him.”
Aston’s scam was exposed when his 92-year-old victim told a social worker her fears he may have cashed in £30,000 worth of premium bonds as the couple were no longer receiving regular payments.
DC Henry, added: “He quickly rolled out sob stories about his struggling business and between them his victims handed over £6,000…this clearly whetted Aston’s appetite and on being granted Power of Attorney he became much greedier.”
Aston appeared in your Worcester News in 2011 after Hanbury villagers accused him of banning them from entering his pub following a planning dispute.