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Sunday, 31 August 2014

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Carlisle woman's catalogue con netted £2,298 - court

A woman who posed as a catalogue company agent so she could fleece hundreds of pounds from victims in the months before Christmas has walked free from a court.

Angela Murphy, 47, who admitted five fraud offences at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court yesterday, said she was driven to commit the crimes by “desperation.”

She defrauded her victims out of a total of £2,298.

Prosecutor Pam Warn told the court how Murphy, of Greystone Road, off London Road, Carlisle told the five women who she targeted that she was an agent for the national Park catalogue company.

The fraud was carried out between December 2011 and November of last year.

Murphy would collect cash every week from the women, who believed it would be used to buy vouchers which could be used to pay for Christmas presents and food.

She convinced the women that she was genuine, partly by showing them a Parks catalogue so that they could plan how they would spend their vouchers.

But in early 2012, one customer became suspicious because Murphy failed to give her a payment card, and questioned her about it. Murphy claimed there was a mix-up and that everything would be okay.

But then another victim also became suspicious and contacted Park whop had never heard of Murphy. Police were called in.

Malcolm Dodds, representing Murphy, said she felt ashamed.

He said. “She would like to just crawl away and hide.”

After reading a background report from the Probation Service, magistrates said the offences passed the custody threshold because they were planned and took place over a lengthy period. The imposed a three month jail term, but suspended the sentence for a year.

Murphy will have to pay compensation of £1,488 to the victims along with prosecution costs of £85 and a victim’s surcharge of £80.

Among Murphy’s victims were married mother-of-six Alex Storey, 25, who last December said that the scam had ruined her family’s Christmas, though a well-wisher – Gretna based roofing firm boss Tom Watson – stepped in to help the family.

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