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Fake gardener steals life savings of 83-year-old Hornchurch grandmother

PUBLISHED: 19:39 05 June 2018

Jean Hurley, 83, and her son Andrew Hurley, 46. Jean was conned out of her life savings by a man posing to be a gardener. He stole �8,000 from her home. Photo: Melissa Page

Jean Hurley, 83, and her son Andrew Hurley, 46. Jean was conned out of her life savings by a man posing to be a gardener. He stole �8,000 from her home. Photo: Melissa Page

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An 83-year-old grandmother from Hornchurch had her life savings stolen by a man posing as a gardener.

CCTV footage of the conman who stole £8,000 from 83-year-old Jean Hurley who lives in Hornchurch. Photo: Andrew Hurley.CCTV footage of the conman who stole £8,000 from 83-year-old Jean Hurley who lives in Hornchurch. Photo: Andrew Hurley.

Jean Hurley answered the door to a man who said that he had been carrying out work outside her home, and within 20 minutes he had forced the elderly woman into handing over £8,000 as he jumped the fence to escape.

On Friday (June 1) at around 12.25pm a man knocked on the pensioner’s door, and said that he had been cutting down branches and mowing the grass outside of her home.

The man then demanded payment from Mrs Hurley even though she was adament that she hadn’t asked for the work to be carried out.

Jean Hurley, with her husband Roy who passed away in 2013. The money stolen from her home was made up of insurance money she had received when he died. Photo: Andrew Hurley.Jean Hurley, with her husband Roy who passed away in 2013. The money stolen from her home was made up of insurance money she had received when he died. Photo: Andrew Hurley.

CCTV footage shows that the man then pushes past Mrs Hurley and into her home, where he started looking around her bedroom on the ground floor.

After asking what he was doing the man then demands money from the 83-year-old, and feeling “scared for her life” she handed over £8,000 in cash.

At first she said she had no money to give him, but when pressed by the conman she went to get some cash from her bag.

A screenshot from CCTV  of the conman who stole £8,000 from Mrs Hurley. Photo: Andrew Hurley.A screenshot from CCTV of the conman who stole £8,000 from Mrs Hurley. Photo: Andrew Hurley.

He then told her that the money she offered him wasn’t enough, and wanted more.

This lead to Mrs Hurley getting a bag of her savings from her bedroom and in the end handed over £8,000 in cash to the stranger.

The money was made up of her life savings, along with insurance money that she had received after her husband Roy died in 2013.

Jean Hurley, 83, was conned out of her life savings by a man posing to be a gardener. He stole �8,000 from her home. Photo: Melissa PageJean Hurley, 83, was conned out of her life savings by a man posing to be a gardener. He stole �8,000 from her home. Photo: Melissa Page

After being handed the cash the conman jumped her fence in the garden and ran away with the money.

Speaking to the Recorder Mrs Hurley, who used to work in a perfume factory in Stratford said: “I’m still in shock now.

“I’m lucky to be alive.

CCTV footage of the conman who stole £8,000 from 83-year-old Jean Hurley who lives in Hornchurch. Photo: Andrew Hurley.CCTV footage of the conman who stole £8,000 from 83-year-old Jean Hurley who lives in Hornchurch. Photo: Andrew Hurley.

“I’m frightened to live.

“I haven’t left the house since it happened and I don’t know when I will.

“I can’t believe it happened to me.

“I can’t sleep, every time I hear a little noise I’m frightened.

“I know now that I should have called someone when it was happening but I was just terrified.”

Jean’s son, Andrew Hurley, 46 told the Recorder that the important thing was that his mum wasn’t hurt.

He said: “It is disgusting, I can’t believe that someone would do this.

“It was my mum’s life savings and he just walked out with it, I can’t imagine how scared she must have been.

“I’ve still got my mum though that’s the most important thing.

“You can replace money but I could never replace her.

“She is really trusting and it is a complete sign of direspect that this man would come into her home and do this.

“At first I was angry, and my blood has been boiling watching the CCTV footage.

“We’ve installed extra cameras and security measures now but it’s also the emotional damage this has done to my mum.”

The Met Police have said that no arrests have been made and that enquiries are ongoing.

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