South East Wales

Disabled woman 'humiliated' by Penarth taxi driver fraud

Dylis Jones Image copyright Wales News Service

A disabled woman has said she felt "humiliated and angry" after a taxi driver conned her out of £43,000.

Dylis Jones was told by Christopher Owen that fare rises meant her monthly fee had to go up from £150 to £500.

Owen, 48, of Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, was jailed for three-and-a-half years in December.

Speaking after the case, Ms Jones said: "He'd even gone as far as telling me he loved me and cared for me, all the time robbing me blind. It was shameful."

Owen would also withdraw money from her account after being trusted with her cash card and chequebook.

The taxi driver admitted three charges of theft, 14 charges of fraud and one charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Ms Jones, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, said: "Being severely disabled I needed lifts most days to get out - I began to trust Christopher like family.

"I lived in a flat with supported living and a warden but Christopher would take me shopping to Asda and when I went for hospital appointments he would even come in and see the doctors with me."

Image copyright Wales News Service/South Wales Police

Owen's deception lasted for nine months before Ms Jones wanted to move house and was told by a rent officer she was in arrears.

She believed she had savings in her Nationwide account, but £43,281 had gone, leaving her with just £13.

She said: "All I could do was look in horror as she showed me dozens and dozens of withdrawals from my account - £500 a time, sometimes more.

'Real hardship'

"I've even had to rely on the local food bank for groceries and even a local emergency fund with the council for some cash. I feel humiliated and so stupid and I feel very, very angry."

Jailing Owen and imposing a restraining order on him preventing him from contacting Ms Jones, Recorder of Cardiff Eleri Rees said: "What you have done to her has caused her real hardship, not only in monetary terms, but also in her feeling of self-worth."

Ms Jones has since been reimbursed £31,000 by Nationwide Building Society.

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