TWO men who played a part in conning a pensioner out of her life savings have each been jailed for 20 months.
Drug addict Tony James and accomplice Gary Davies had cheques from the 83-year-old woman paid into their accounts as she was ruthlessly milked of more than £200,000 for a new patio.
The cheques were made out to a building company that did not exist, and Harrow Crown Court heard on Friday that it was impossible to prove whether James and Davies had a controlling interest in the bogus company that charged the exorbitant fee.
The pensioner, who lives in Long Elmes, Harrow Weald, was initially tricked into handing over more than
£16,000 in September 2006 to have the patio laid and then re-laid.
And over the course of the next 18 months she was bombarded with calls saying she still owed money to the builders in unpaid VAT.
She handed over more than £115,000 in cash instalments after she was threatened by those behind the scam with court action.
On top of this she was finally asked to hand over two cheques, one made out to 21-year-old James for £44,000 and another for £56,000 made payable to Davies, 23, who has a young child.
The cheque to Davies was blocked by the bank before any money was withdrawn, but £22,000 of the first cheque was withdrawn.
In a victim statement read out in court, the pensioner said: "After what has happened and the great distress caused to myself and my family, life will never be the same again.
"I dread a knock on the door or a ring on the bell. I don't feel I can trust anyone except family and friends.
"I believe the only suitable punishment is prison. While there they will not be able to deceive anyone else and cause the same pain they caused me."
The two men, who were appear ing for sentencing, claimed they had no idea how or where the money had come from, but agreed to cash the cheques in return for a small pay-off.
Davies, from Isleworth, said he was paid £500 for his part in the con while James, from Newham, was told that a £7,000 drug debt, built up through an addiction to cocaine, would be written off.