The dying wish of fraud vic­tim

Post of­fice worker fi­nally jailed for de­fraud­ing ex-sol­dier of pen­sion cash

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - News - By Paul Hooper and Jack Dyson [email protected]­m­ @Paul­hoop­erkm

An 86-year-old for­mer sol­dier who made a plea on his deathbed to see the “b**tard” who de­frauded him sent to jail, was fi­nally served jus­tice this week.

Wil­liam How­land was conned out of al­most £1,000 by a staff mem­ber at Rough Com­mon sub post of­fice – a man he thought was his friend.

He was even ripped off after be­ing di­ag­nosed with ter­mi­nal lung cancer in Au­gust 2016. He died a year later at the Pil­grims Hospice in Can­ter­bury.

Mr How­land had lived with his daugh­ter in the city fol­low­ing his third stroke in just four years.

And it was his daugh­ter who fi­nally saw Richard Arnold, 53, of The Down­ings, in Herne Bay, jailed at Can­ter­bury Crown Court for two years.

Arnold used his po­si­tion to pocket £300 when Mr How­land would ask for a weekly with­drawal of £200 of his pen­sion money. And when police re­alised what Arnold was up to they dis­cov­ered he had also pil­fered £4,500 from his em­ployer.

His daugh­ter Kim Barker said: “Five days be­fore he passed, when he was re­ally ill and could barely speak, he looked over to me and said: ‘My love, prom­ise me that you’ll see this b**tard go to prison.’

“It was one of the last things he said to me; he was re­ally up­set and an­gry that he had been taken for a fool.”

De­ter­mined to keep the prom­ise, Ms Barker, a re­tired mag- is­trate, put her­self through the “up­set­ting” process of giv­ing ev­i­dence at the trial after Arnold pleaded not guilty.

“My fa­ther wanted to go to court him­self; he wanted to con­front him,” she said. “I wish he had been able to do that.”

Prior to his death, Mr How­land had made a state­ment to police de­scrib­ing the im­pact the crime had on him.

He wrote: “I have been in the army and have had three strokes. It is fair to say I have been through a bit.

“Since I have re­alised that some­one I thought was nice and friendly, may be re­spon­si­ble for steal­ing the money, I have been hav­ing night­mares.

“I feel com­pletely and ut­terly let down by this man and am so

‘It was one of the last things he said to me; he was re­ally up­set’

an­gry I can’t put it into words.”

Can­ter­bury Crown Court heard how be­tween Septem­ber and De­cem­ber 2016 Arnold stole £950 from the pen­sioner.

And when it was re­ported to the police, he showed them num­bers which he had writ­ten on a cal­en­dar in the sub of­fice cal­cu­lat­ing how much he had pil­fered.

Arnold had claimed he was help­ing a Nige­rian woman who had gone to Cape Verde where the au­thor­i­ties had taken her pass­port and she needed be­tween £7,000 and £8,000.

He de­nied fraud and theft in breach of trust but was con­victed by mag­is­trates and sent to crown court for sen­tenc­ing. Si­mon Tay­lor, de­fend­ing, said Arnold had com­mit­ted “this de­plorable crime” after tak­ing the wrong choice in help­ing his girl­friend.

Judge James O’ma­hony told Arnold: “These of­fences were sys­tem­atic, cyn­i­cal and in­volved huge breaches of trust. You were re­ported to be off­hand and grumpy to other cus­tomers but cheer­ful and pleas­ant to him, whilst rip­ping him off.

“You say you were send­ing this money to help a girl­friend in Cape Verde, there is no ev­i­dence of that other than your word and I don’t place much credit on that,”

The court heard how Arnold had bor­rowed money from fam­ily mem­bers to re­pay the Post Of­fice but the judge has ruled he has to pay Mr How­land’s es­tate £950 within six months of be­ing re­leased from jail.

Kim Barker and her late fa­ther Wil­liam How­land, who died be­fore jus­tice could be done

Pic­ture: Kent Police

JAILED: Richard Arnold

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