Rushden conmen who stole more than £70,000 from pensioner lose appeal

Hughie Doherty, left, and his brother Francis
Hughie Doherty, left, and his brother Francis
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Brothers who stole more than £70,000 from an 84-year-old with dementia have lost an appeal against their sentences.

Hughie Doherty, 32, of Newton Road, Rushden, and his brother Francis, 37, of Gipsy Lane, Irchester, were jailed in March 2014 for five and four-and-a-half years respectively for their part in the theft.

Three senior judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court have rejected a bid by the pair to have their convictions quashed.

They said the trial judge was “perfectly entitled” to let the jury decide whether the brothers were telling the truth.

Mr Justice Goss said the pair and a third man were stopped in a Land Rover Discovery just outside the Bedfordshire village of Roxton on March 15, 2011.

The 4X4 contained a smashed mobile which had been used to contact an elderly woman who lived in the village of Blunham, near Sandy.

In 2010 the victim, who was in the early stages of dementia, had received a call from a man pretending to be a solicitor. He claimed he could help her recover £25,000 she’d lost in an earlier con.

He persuaded the woman, who lived on her own, to withdraw more than £73,000 from her bank and to drop the cash in several deliveries to a bus stop and a lay-by.

However, staff at the woman’s bank became suspicious after the thieves tried to extract a payment of £15,000 from her.

When the trio were stopped, police discovered that the smashed phone held details of repeated calls made to the pensioner the same day.

Officers also found pieces of paper bearing the victim’s phone number and the fingerprints of Francis and the brothers’ co-accused at the bus stop where the cash-drops were made.

The brothers denied theft, pointing out that the victim had never seen any of those involved in the scam.

They were found guilty of theft in relation to the cash taken and attempted theft in relation to the calls made on the day they were caught.

The Dohertys’ lawyers had argued that the trial judge should have blocked the theft charges as there was no real evidence to suggest they were involved.