Ex-soldier conned pensioner out of £45,000 life savings to spend at Peterborough strip club

Crown Court News
Crown Court News

A former soldier fleeced a dementia-ridden pensioner of her £45,000 savings and spent much of it in a strip club in Peterborough.

Andrew Richardson, 37, siphoned the cash from Mary Rice’s account when he was supposed to be looking after her.

The Iraq veteran had been enlisted to care for the widow - a relative of his wife - and was in charge of her finances.

But in a staggering betrayal, he used her cash to satisfy his lust for strippers at the town’s Angels lapdancing club.

Richardson, of Westfield Road, Huntingdon, was eventually caught and jailed for three-and-a-half years - and has now seen the sentence confirmed by top judges.

“He was milking the assets of a vulnerable lady, whose care he had assumed,” said Mr Justice Irwin.

“The fraud was systematic and persisted in over time.

“He was spending the money on drinking, on his favourite lapdancing club, where he spent £13,000, and other entirely selfish ends.”

The court heard Mrs Rice had been looked after for years by Richardson’s wife Julie.

However, when Mrs Richardson herself became unwell, care of the pensioner was passed to the ex-soldier in 2010.

It was then that he embarked on a long series of frauds, during which he stole thousands of pounds of Mrs Rice’s money.

He continued even after her death at the age of 84 in June 2012.

Other family members cottoned on to the fraud and Richardson was quizzed, shockingly suggesting to police that his wife was guilty.

But when he gave the name of Angels - his favourite strip club - as an explanation for an entry in Mrs Rice’s bank account, the game was up.

Claiming his sentence, passed last June for three counts of fraud, was too long, Richardson said he was suffering from PTSD after his Iraq service.

Although he had drank heavily and had a sporadic work history after the army - ending up as a cleaner at Tesco - he was of good character, he said.

Giving judgment, Mrs Justice Irwin, Lord Justice McCombe and Judge Sarah Munro QC said three-and-a-half years’ jail was deserved.