Jailed conman struck 39 times

Jailed distraction burglar Luke Wall
Jailed distraction burglar Luke Wall

THE 85-year-old victim of a conman jailed for 39 robberies has spoken of the anguish his crime caused her.

The police have given Iris Rickwood details of the trial, so she now knows Luke Wall and his unknown accomplice, took advantage of almost 40 vulnerable people. But she still said: “I let him in like a fool. I didn’t realise it was just a show he was putting on. You hear about people doing this, I don’t know why I let him in.”

Wall, 29, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Norwich Crown Court last week to his part in a distraction burglary at her Flempton home in February, he also admitted a similar offence in Norwich and asked for 37 other offences committed in Suffolk and Norfolk over 18 days to be taken into consideration.

Last Thursday, Mrs Rickwood, the widow of a forestry worker, said: “He got seven and a half years and serves him right!”

As with other victims, when Wall called at the house that has been her home since 1954, he claimed to be from the water company and dramatically told her that flooding in a nearby house might cause polluted water to back up into her taps and make her ill if she drank it. He made a show of emptying the cupboards under her sink and filling jugs with water. Then he suggested she sit in the living room while he worked.

“He kept me in there about 20 minutes,” Mrs Rickwood said. “While he was in there, his friend was doing the burglary and he won’t disclose who it is.

“When I went upstairs everything was out on the floor and he’d stolen about £3,000 worth. But then I think, what would he have done if I’d gone up there while he was still there?”

She gave the police a good description of Wall, who gave himself up in Anglesey after police distributed his picture nationwide and it was widely publicised.

Last week, Mrs Rickwood saw his picture on television during a report on the trial. “I knew him straight away,” she said. “I always said I’d recognise him if I saw him again.”

She has taken security advice and has locks and reminder stickers on her door. She urges other people to do the same and not to take strangers on trust. She believes the stress made her lose weight yet the incident has not reduced her determination to be independent, but again she said: “I don’t know why I let him in.”