Conman flees court hearing
The hunt is on for a handyman who disappeared from court before a jury found him guilty of conning a navy pensioner out of thousands of pounds.Anthony Ogilvie was convicted of three counts of fraud by a jury at Norwich Crown Court today but was not around to hear the unanimous verdict having disappeared yesterday following a break in proceedings.
The hunt is on for a handyman who disappeared from court before a jury found him guilty of conning a pensioner out of thousands of pounds.
Anthony Ogilvie was convicted of three counts of fraud by a jury at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday but was not around to hear the unanimous verdict having disappeared the day before during a break in proceedings.
A warrant for his arrest has been issued and police have appealed to the public to help find him.
During the seven-day trial, the court heard how Ogilvie, of Reeve Place, Cromer, targeted and befriended 64-year-old Roland Harris in May 2008 and agreed to carry out improvements on the widower's home.
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Over a period of two months, the 48-year-old defendant regularly asked his victim for money for building materials and work which was never carried out.
William Carter, prosecuting, said: "Mr Harris had become [his] income."
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In total, police believe Mr Harris, who spent 22 years in the Royal Navy, handed over �10,000 - emptying one bank account and leaving another badly overdrawn.
The prosecution said Ogilvie then convinced his victim, who was described as vulnerable, to apply for loans worth �7,000 for further work - although they were never approved.
Ogilvie told the court he had only ever been a good friend to Mr Harris, who was widowed in March 2008, and offered him help and support when he had no one else. He said: "I quite liked him. I thought he was quite a character."
He admitted he had accompanied his victim to the bank, hoping he would get further work if his loans were approved, but said he had only ever charged him �400 for improvements he had carried out.
The case came to court after a long investigation by Norfolk police's rogue trader team, Operation Radar.
Speaking outside court, Det Con Dave McCormack said police had approached Mr Harris after a worried call from a care worker. He added: "As soon as we explained what amounts had been given out of his account, it was utterly devastating."
Mr Harris, of Cromer, is now being offered support and is getting his finances in order. After the case he said: "It was basically my Navy pension and my incapacity benefit. My life has been absolutely terrible since this happened."
Det Con McCormack said the verdict sent a warning to potential rogue traders.
Once Ogilvie has been caught, he will be brought back to court to be sentenced.
"A warrant has been issued for his arrest. We would urge anyone with information as to where he is to contact us," said Det Con McCormack.