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Stowmarket taxi driver targeted vulnerable victim

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

A 72-year-old man with a brain injury had his money stolen after being targeted by a taxi driver, a court has heard.

After taking the victim to a local supermarket to use a cash machine, Barry Coleman dipped into his wallet to remove £800 during a series of incidents over a one year period.

Coleman was only caught after the victim’s brother became suspicious and installed CCTV cameras.

Today (Friday), Ipswich Crown Court heard that Coleman, 56, of The Crown Inn, Crown Street, Stowmarket, had pleaded guilty to a single offence of theft.

Prosecuting, David Setter said the total sum lost by Garry Price, who sustained a serious head injury 20 years ago, was estimated to be as high as £40,000 since December 2015 and may have involved other people.

Mr Setter said the cameras revealed a man with tattoos inside the house and also recorded the thefts.

Checks with Goldstar Taxis revealed that the man was Coleman. He was arrested and protested his innocence until confronted with video evidence.

Appearing for Coleman, Michael Stephenson said his client, who was sacked from his job when the offending came to light, felt “very guilty and very bad” about what he had done and that he had ‘succumbed to temptation’.

Sentencing, Judge John Devaux told him: “It is interesting that you only admitted your guilt when finally the image that showed your face could not allow you to go on denying it any longer.”

Coleman was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, ordered to repay the stolen £800 and £340 prosecution costs.

Coleman was told by the judge: “This was a deliberate targeting of a vulnerable victim.”

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