HEARTLESS fraudsters conned a grandmother, spending thousands of pounds of her money on jewellery, hours after she was told she had terminal cancer.
Linda Gibbs was diagnosed with terminal liver and kidney cancer, with the “desperately low” grandmother targeted just hours later by a telephone provider scam.
The 70-year-old woman was told that her direct debit payment had failed, asked to pass on her card details and PIN.
A woman then arrived at her Nuneaton, Warks., home to pick up her card on July 14.
The con-artists then spend thousands of on jewellery, including on a £7,000 Rolex watch, at a local jewellers.
The grandmother passed away on August 31 – with police still searching for the heartless ghouls who took advantage of the ailing grandmother.
Warwickshire Police have now released images of a suspect believed to have targeted Mrs Gibbs.
The elderly woman’s heartbroken daughter Anita Foxley, 54, said: “The whole thing has been incredibly distressing for the whole family.
“The news that my mum had cancer came as such a shock to us, for all intents and purposes she was perfectly fit and well.
“But out of nowhere, she was told that she had terminal kidney and liver cancer, and that it was spreading to her bones.”
She added: “She got the diagnosis in the morning, and was on such a massive low from then on.
“When they targeted her, at around 1.50pm, she must have been at the lowest point that she’s ever been at.
“She would have been incredibly emotional, and I imagine that they preyed on that – regardless of whether or not they were aware of the diagnosis.
“Obviously they must have been very convincing, and mum must have trusted them.”
She said her mother had died just four weeks later, saying the con had had a “damaging effect” on the whole family.
She said: “There are so many jobs in this country. Why on earth did they feel as though they had to prey on a vulnerable lady like that?
“My mum was very vulnerable after being told she had terminal cancer and to be targeted by these people is unforgivable. The extra stress this put on her life in her last days was unbearable.
“I would really like to see justice served on the woman who came to my mum’s door that day.
“She not only robbed my mother of her well earned money but gave her a very unpleasant experience of worrying in her last few days of life.
“She lived in a busy area and there would have been people visiting the Boots chemist or local Co-op over the road who might have seen the woman approaching her door.”
There are so many jobs in this country. Why on earth did they feel as though they had to prey on a vulnerable lady like that?
Anita Foxley, 5Linda Gibbs’ daughter
Kevin Knight, of Warwickshire Police, said: “These types of heartless criminals regularly prey on the most vulnerable members of the community and in this case they have targeted someone who had just received the most awful news.
“You can only imagine the impact this had on the final weeks of Mrs Gibbs’ life and the anger it continues to cause her family.
“We believe the woman in these photos has information that will be vital to our enquiries.
“I firmly believe that someone will recognise the woman or have other information that could help with our enquiries and I’d appeal for them to come forward.
“Please bear in mind that she might be wearing a wig.” If anyone recognises the woman in the photo or has any other information that could help police with their enquiries they should call 101 and quote incident 316 of 14 July 2017.
Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org
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