El­derly charmer a con­man

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - NI­CHOLAS MCBRIDE

A con­man who preyed on el­derly women, charm­ing them and then scam­ming them out of thou­sands of dol­lars, has pleaded guilty.

Wil­liam Hard­ing, 77, went on the run for al­most a year af­ter con­ning sev­eral women out of money.

Hard­ing was ar­rested in Levin in May and pleaded guilty to de­cep­tion charges in the Whanganui District Court on Thurs­day.

A daugh­ter of one of his vic­tims said he had been living in their home in Whanganui in 2015, with her re­cently wid­owed mother.

Hard­ing had made the woman’s mother put a de­posit on a house, but then ‘‘did a run­ner’’, caus­ing her to lose $8000 in her de­posit and le­gal fees, she said.

‘‘She has lost her con­fi­dence in peo­ple.

‘‘He was like the kids’ grand­fa­ther. We just had to ex­plain to them that there are peo­ple like that in the world.’’

Hard­ing would meet women at Probus gath­er­ings and would charm them into giv­ing him money, the woman said.

In court, Judge Anthony Couch said Hard­ing would be given the op­por­tu­nity for restora­tive jus­tice.

Hard­ing will be sen­tenced in Au­gust and will await his fate be­hind bars as his lawyer made no ap­pli­ca­tion for bail.

‘‘I think that is prob­a­bly ap­pro­pri­ate given his history,’’ the judge said.

PO­LICE

Wil­liam Hard­ing

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