Elderly charmer a conman
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.