A fraudster who conned the elderly out of around £42,000 for bogus building work has been jailed.
The man, who posed as a roofer despite having no professional experience in the trade, conned two elderly couples in their 80s, in Hillingdon, into paying him for work that was never carried out during the summer of 2013.
The shock of the fraud is thought to have caused one of his victims to suffer a fatal heart attack.
On Monday (February 23), Roy Stratford, 43, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court to four-and-a-half years imprisonment for two counts of fraud by false representation.
Stratford had pleaded guilty to both offences at the same court on February 19.
The defendant visited the elderly occupants of a home in Oakleigh Road, Uxbridge, posing as a roofer on July 5 2013.
Stratford came back on July 9 for a two-day period throughout which he spent no longer then a couple of hours at the address.
He then presented the couple with a bill of £26,000 which they duly paid in cash and in good faith, assuming the work had been carried out.
Stratford gave the couple a receipt from a non-existent construction firm in Iver, Buckinghamshire.
An independent survey later established that the only alteration made was some felting that Stratford had nailed in the roof interior.
The shock of the survey’s findings caused the elderly woman who lived at the address to collapse and she suffered a fatal heart attack in front of her husband.
Stratford then committed similar bogus visits to an address in Church Road, West Drayton, over a seven-day period during late August until the beginning of September 2013.
The occupant parted with around £16,000 in cash which was later discovered paid only for the painting of the chimney.
Detectives at Hillingdon CID launched an investigation and it was quickly established that similar offences were under investigation elsewhere in the country by a man fitting Stratford’s description.
With the help of Wiltshire Constabulary, Stratford was arrested on January 22 2014.
No money was ever located or seized by officers.
Detective Constable Anji Dawson, from Hillington CID, said: “Throughout this investigation, Stratford has never given an explanation for his actions nor has he shown any remorse for his crimes.
"Stratford is quite simply a cowboy and a coward who targeted and exploited the elderly and vulnerable for his own financial gain. He tricked his way into their homes and conned them out of their life savings.
“I hope that Stratford’s imprisonment brings some form of justice to his victims and their families.
“I would like to remind the public to always ask to see the identification of front door callers to verify who they are. If you suspect something suspicious about that person, close the door immediately and contact the police.”