21 months in jail for ‘callous’ thief

Bradford judge Peter Benson
Bradford judge Peter Benson

A judge has jailed a thief for 21 months after a jury found him guilty of theft and fraud offences involving some committed against a vulnerable pensioner.

Darren Toner, 28, who now lives in Burnley, had denied stealing money from the Mytholmroyd woman and using her bank card to obtain items off the internet.

But a jury at Bradford Crown Court found him guilty on all three charges.

Barrister Martin Robertshaw, for Toner, said he was unemployed and living with his girlfriend and had never been to custody before.

But Judge Peter Benson said Toner had befriended the victim, who is in her 80s, from a very young age and he knew about her dreadful symptoms of dementia.

The judge said Toner had exploited her vulnerability to extract money from her despite twice being warned by the police to not to take any money from the woman.

Judge Benson said Toner had continued to steal from the victim to fund his own “indolent lifestyle”.

“This was a persistent course of callous conduct over a prolonged period of time and a custodial sentence is inevitable,” Judge Benson told Toner.

The judge said listening to the case it had become quite apparent just how callous Toner was.

“It is quite obvious that you were aware of the distress that it caused her when her account was overdrawn and when payments were made on that account which she didn’t understand,” Judge Benson said.

“Nonetheless you persisted in that callous, calculated and greedy course of conduct.”