Crook swindled £21,000 from disabled woman

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A callous thief from Prescot who swindled a disabled woman out of over £21,000 is facing jail.

Peter Stewart admitted his despicable crime to Wigan magistrates, who heard how Agnus Howlett from Aspull, has suffered three strokes and is still severely ill as a result.

With his victim unable to read or write and with her speech badly affected, the 51-year-old thief seized the opportunity to take the money when she needed help with her banking. Prosecutors described Stewart’s offence as a “disability hate crime”. In total he stole £21,750 between May 1, 2014, and June 29, 2016.

The court heard how Stewart, of Frederick Lunt Avenue, Knowsley, “took advantage” of a “vulnerable victim”.

Alan Bakker, prosecuting, said: “The allegation is a breach of trust over a two-year period. The lady in question is a vulnerable victim. This is being classed as a disability hate crime. The lady has had three strokes. Her mobility and speech have been affected and she can no longer read or write She requires assistance with her banking and the defendant has taken advantage of her.”

Stewart pleaded guilty to the theft. He was released on conditional bail and was instructed to stay away from the victim, her family and St David’s Crescent in Aspull.

He will next appear at Liverpool Crown Court on August 10.