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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Grief-stricken Carlisle widow fleeced of life savings by conman

An elderly blind widow has had to go into care after being fleeced of her life savings.

John Mark Earl photo
John Mark Earl

The woman, in her eighties and grieving after the death of her husband, was conned out of £68,000 by crooked financial adviser John Mark Earl.

Father-of-four Earl, 47, of Main Street, Brampton, was jailed for 32 months for stealing more than £150,000 from two sets of his clients.

PC Justin Hill, who led the police investigation, has told of the devastating impact his deceit has had on his victims, who wish to remain anonymous.

He said the first victim, from Carlisle, suffered the loss of her husband while she was being tricked.

To make matters worse, her husband had suspicions his wife was being conned before he died.

The devastated woman has now had to move out of her home and into care following her ordeal.

As she has lost all her life savings, her son has been left to foot the bill for her care.

PC Hill said it has had a huge effect on her mentally as well as financially. The second set of victims, a retired couple in their sixties, also from Carlisle, handed over more than £85,500 to Earl.

They have been left penniless and have been forced to give up their dream holiday which they planned to take this year, as well as shelve plans to renovate their home.

PC Hill said the female victim can no longer visit her friends and family in Brampton because that is where Earl is from.

He said: “They have been left very scared and angry after being duped. She didn’t even know they had been defrauded until we approached her.

“She was mortified and couldn’t believe it was happening. It took us some time to explain it all to her – she is gradually coming to terms with it but she is very upset.

PC Hill added: “Earl is a self-employed financial adviser who greatly abused his position of trust, telling people he would invest their money for their gain when in reality he was using it for his own gain.”

Carlisle Crown Court heard how the victims had given Earl – who admitted theft – their money to invest on their behalf.

He was said to live in “a substantial and impressive home”.

But he had spent the cash on everyday living rather than on a lavish lifestyle, the court heard.

Malcolm Dodds, defending, said Earl was “thoroughly ashamed” of what he had done and described him as a once successful professional man.

He had set up a company with three colleagues, but things went wrong after they took out a business loan because of the financial downturn.

Earl “couldn’t see any way out” and used his vulnerable victims to resolve his own financial problems, Mr Dodds said, and he now faces bankruptcy.

Recorder Simon Medland QC, in sentencing Earl, told him: “You have left in your wake a trail of misery and upset.”

PC Hill said there are not believed to be any more victims but urged anyone worried they may have been tricked by Earl to contact him on 101.

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