Man who tricked friend wins appeal

A MAN who took advantage of his agoraphobic friend by pillaging his bank account has succeeded in an Appeal Court fight against his sentence.

Nigel St John Girling, 54, of Fore Street, Framlingham, was trusted to take money out of the account of agoraphobic Eric Elmsley, who was too scared to leave his house on account of his condition.

Mr Elmsley gave his bank details and card to Girling, trusting him to manage his financial affairs.

But Girling secretly withdrew and trousered almost �7,000 from his friend’s account.

Girling was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, on February 16 at Ipswich Crown Court, after pleading guilty to two counts of theft, one of fraud and asking for eight further offences to be taken into consideration.

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He was also handed a legal costs bill, put under a supervision order, told to work 150 hours unpaid, and ordered to pay �5,819 in compensation to Mr Elmsley.

Yesterday, Lord Justice Stanley Burnton, Mrs Justice Dobbs and Judge Michael Pert QC, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, allowed his appeal against sentence, quashing the costs and supervision orders and reducing the compensation bill to �3,000.

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The court heard that Girling had been ordered to compensate Mr Elmsley after his bank refused to recompense him for the money he had lost – due to the fact that he voluntarily provided Girling with his bank details and card.

However, after hearing submissions that the �5,819 order was “too oppressive” and would take Girling more than five years to pay back, Judge Pert reduced his bill to �3,000.

Girling now has three years to make good that sum to his former friend or face further punishment.

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