Cruel conwoman left vulnerable partner looking like the ‘elephant man’ after helping spend his £95,000 inheritance in just five months

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A cruel conwoman left her vulnerable partner beaten and penniless after helping spend his £95,000 inheritance in just five months.

Jean Ritchie lived the high life on her partner's windfall to such an extent their local restaurant needed to order in extra alcohol to cope with their frequent treats.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 61-year-old dumped the victim once the cash was all gone and he was left living in his own flat "dirty, unkempt and withdrawn" with only £2.32 in the bank.

During their short romance, Ritchie subjected the victim, who was so vulnerable he "functioned at a very low level indeed" to frequent beatings, one of which left him looking like the "elephant man" and another involved her injuring his testicles.

The victim, who is originally from Sunderland and is now living in full time care, told police: "She completely destroyed my life."

Ritchie, of The Lonnen, South Shields, admitted theft and three charges of assault.

Judge Stephen Earl sentenced her to 32 months behind bars and told her: "You manipulated a vulnerable man, essentially you stripped him of his dignity and his worth, financially, through many means.

"Then, of course, you, essentially, discarded him.

"As he put it, you controlled him through the violence you meted out to him, assaults on at least three occasions and by manipulation of him, physically and financially.

"He was, and you knew this, a man of low functioning ability.

"When he had nothing left, the relationship quickly came to an and and you, in a sense, discarded him.

"It left him with only £2,32 to his name, from the £95,000 he originally had.

"You clearly had a disregard for his long term welfare."

The judge said as well as cash terms, Ritchie's lifestyle was enhanced with a large amount of "meals and drinking", all paid for by her partner, who she controlled through "violent manipulation".

Prosecutor Barry Robson told the court the couple met at a health club in Seaburn and he moved into her home in South Shields in March 2014.

The man received a payout of £95,891 from the sale of his mother's house after her death a short time later.

Mr Robson told the court: "By July 2014 the money was completely gone and the account was reduced from in excess of £90,000 to £2.32.

"This vulnerable victim was fleeced by someone he thought hew as able to trust, who he was in a relationship with."

The court heard the victim described three explosions of violence at Ritchie's hands.

The first occasion was in February 2014 when she punched him in the face while they lay in bed together.

A witness said his injuries left him like the "elephant man".

In July that year, again after a drinking session, Ritchie slammed a glass into his face and knocked his front tooth out.

A month later, she injured his private parts.

Mr Robson said; "They were in bed together and she suddenly grabbed his testicles with her nails, very hard. There was blood on the sheets."

The court heard the victim moved out of Ritchie's home and into his own flat, where he was found by social services to be "malnourished, all his money gone."

Ritchie's theft plea related to around £10,000, plus cash the victim handed over to buy her grandchild a horse, although no such animal was ever bought.

The victim told police he had enjoyed his life before Ritchie ruined it but has now completely lost confidence and even suffers night terrors.

He said; "I thought the relationship had a chance.

"Now I know she just used me."

Vic Laffey, defending, said Ritchie met the man before he had any money hand had been happy to help him out.

Mr Laffey said when the victim got his payout, the family would eat out almost seven days a week and added: "The restaurant owner had to start buying extra alcohol because they were drinking so much."

Mr Laffey said Ritchie is in extremely poor health and now rarely leaves the house.

He added; "She does regret what has happened here.

"She does feel ashamed of the situation this man finds himself in."