A couple who posed as carers for a 96-year-old war hero in order to con him out of nearly £200,000 from his life savings have been jailed.
Steven Kantecki, 43, and his wife Sarah, 39, stole £196,000 from the pensioner in less than a year and splashed out on designer clothes and a lavish lifestyle.
Hull Crown Court heard how the pair manipulated the unsuspecting former soldier and made him believe he could trust them as they were his carers.
The manipulation took place between April 2019 and September 2020, the court was told.
When the thefts came to light the couple attempted to use 'emotional blackmail' to stop the pensioner from pushing the allegations further.
Tragically, the pensioner died just a few months later.
He was a kindly, gentle person and a "true gentleman" who was suffering from ill-health at the time, the court heard.
The pair denied theft, but were found guilty following a trial.
Sarah Kantecki was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
They were jailed for a total of nine years and six months.
Detective Sergeant David Porteus said: “The only place the Kanteckis deserve to be is behind bars, so today’s sentencing is welcomed.
“Fraud can be an extremely distressing offence to become a victim of, especially when the level of offending is of this magnitude.
“I hope that today’s result will provide the victim’s family with some comfort in knowing that they can no longer cause harm to vulnerable people in the community.
“Sometimes people may feel embarrassed that they fell for a ‘scam’ and choose not to report fraud or seek advice about it.
“Please remember that anyone can be a victim of fraud. Fraudsters constantly reinvent themselves to find new ways of tricking people.”
Adam Walker, prosecuting, said the couple breached a high level of trust in them through being carers for the victim, the Hull Daily Mail said.
"People he thought were his friends had stolen all this money," Walker said.
"He had been completely self-sufficient prior to that."
The pensioner was left with no other assets, apart from his home.
His grandson later said in a statement that the pensioner trusted the carers, the Hull Daily Mail said.
The victim's granddaughter said the pensioner had been left with a "feeling of betrayal" and suffered from anxiety and pain, the Hull Daily Mail reported.
"It was heartbreaking to see such concern and distress," she said.
"His life was turned upside down. The security he had worked so hard for in his life had gone.
"He would sit with his head in his hands."
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