Man jailed for role in ‘cynical con-trick’ to fleece Ipswich widow out of £40k life savings

Helal Uddin was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Helal Uddin was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A London man has been jailed for his part in a “despicable con” which fleeced a 75-year-old Ipswich widow of her life savings – leaving her a “nervous, frightened shell” of a woman.

Helal Uddin, 49, of Bow Road, East London, had denied possessing criminal property but was found guilty by a jury last month.

Today, at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge David Goodin said it was difficult to imagine a more “despicable and mean-spirited” offence – as he sentenced Uddin to 12 months’ imprisonment.

Judge Goodin acknowledged Uddin had not planned the “detestable” fraud – but said he had provided “oxygen” for it.

Uddin had allowed his bank account to be used to launder £4,675 that an unidentified criminal, pretending to be a detective, had conned from the victim by claiming to be investigating fraud on her bank accounts. The court heard more than £40,000 was taken after she was persuaded to cash in ISAs and leave money in a car park.

The victim’s son told the court the crime had changed his mother, who was once “friendly and outgoing” but had become “wary” and reluctant to trust people. He said his mother had changed her phone number, no longer tended her garden, and was reluctant to leave the house alone. She was fearful she would not be able to leave anything to her family. “Her physical and mental health appears to be going down hill,” her son said.

Judge Goodin said the crime had “shattered” 75 years of trust and confidence, leaving the victim a “nervous, frightened shell”.

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“Instead of having 10 or 20 years ahead of her of happy old age, she is left impoverished forever by a cynical con-trick”, he added.

Uddin had previously denied acting fraudulently, claiming a man he knew as Hussain had offered to help him get a loan to fund his daughter’s wedding.

Jim Olphert, defending Uddin, said he had stuck to that account but now felt “deep remorse” for what had happened to the victim. He had brought £1,000 cash to court as a show of his willingness to pay compensation. Mr Olphert said Uddin had a “troubled” time after the breakdown of his marriage left him sleeping on a sofa at his mother’s house. He was unable to work due to illness.

After being jailed for 12 months, Uddin apologised to the victim’s family through a translator.

Confiscation proceedings are ongoing.