A woman left her grandfather penniless after stealing £75,000 from him – claiming she needed the money to sue B&Q.
Olivia Crutchley, of Orford, stole Rob Crutchley’s savings, cruelly deceiving him over the course of over 18 months to fund his drug addiction.
The 23-year-old lied to her grandfather, who she described as her ‘best friend’ growing up, claiming to work at the DIY giant – even saying she was promoted to assistant manager.
Crutchley went so far as to spoof emails from attorneys and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Rob took out two bank loans, borrowed money from family and friends, and had to sell his car and personal belongings to pay what he thought were legal fees.
The Liverpool Crown Court has heard that Rob, 79, has a ‘strong bond’ with his granddaughter after she spent periods living with him as a child.
At one point Crutchley stole £10 from Rob’s wife’s purse, but his issues were resolved and he even helped pay the rent on his flat.
Crutchley then moved to Malta before returning to Warrington when he started lying about where he worked.
She claimed that she had run out of money due to extra training as part of a new role that was not paid by the company.
This apparently included travel and accommodation expenses for sessions in Southport, Birmingham and London.
Rob received simulated emails from his so-called supervisor regarding these costs and those of purchasing his uniform.
Between December 2020 and June 2022, he would receive around 140 of these emails – with others coming from lawyers and citizen aides.
The confident pensioner initially agreed to shell out £1,000 to cover these expenses.
Crutchley later informed him that he had stopped working for B&Q and had contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau about potential lawsuits.
In September 2021, she contacted Rob via WhatsApp with a screenshot of an email apparently from an employee of the organization stating that she would need to make payments to start the process.
This fictitious correspondence asking for money continued regularly, with other contacts allegedly coming from lawyers seeking fees.
Excuses given included the lawyer working on her case suffering a ‘family emergency’, which meant she needed to pay for a new legal team.
One of these fake legal professionals even started emailing Mr. Crutchley. However, he grew suspicious after an ‘unprofessional’ message in which a lawyer he never met said his daughter had died of cancer.
The victim also ‘found it odd’ that the email address was for an AOL account, not a business address for the company. The lawyer also made no reference to being part of any specific company.
Throughout the coup, Mr. Crutchley transferred a total of £68,911.56 to her granddaughter and a further £6,057.30 to her partner.
In a statement read out to the court, Rob said how worried he and his wife are about having to sell their home, and their retirement has been ruined.
He said: ‘We’ve worked so hard all our lives, this is the time to have fun. I’m so embarrassed that we had to borrow money from friends. My wife can’t even afford a new pair of glasses she needs.
‘How do I get out of this situation? I have no idea why Olivia would do this to me after all the help I’ve given her over the years.
‘It turned my life upside down. I don’t have the money to pay for my funeral or my wife’s if the worst happens to us.’
Crutchley, who has no previous convictions, admitted to fraud during an earlier hearing.
She was jailed for two years while her girlfriend wept in the public gallery.
Sentencing, Registrar Graham Wells said: ‘I have to sentence you for a nasty, petty, destructive offence. It is a terrible offense.
‘You destroyed your relationship, but you also destroyed the peace and quiet of your retirement. It was over a period of years, taking it with everything he had and then some.
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