Hearing to establish con value

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A CONWOMAN who stole thousands of pounds from an elderly neighbour faces a court hearing to determine exactly how much she swindled.

Joy Don helped herself to money from a post office account belonging to Dorothy Johnson, who has since died.

The 35-year-old had been trusted to collect the 75-year-old’s pension and pay her bills, in the belief they had formed a strong and loyal bond during their 14-year friendship.

But Don, of Ash Grove, Whitburn, used the pensioner’s post office card to access cash which she kept for herself.

At Newcastle Crown Court last month she pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud and one of theft, on the basis she took about £7,000 between 2009 and 2011.

Don was due to be sentenced this week, but when her case was brought before the court prosecutor Michael Bunch there were oustanding issues.

Mr Bunch said: “Her guilty pleas were entered and the basis of plea put forward admitted theft in the region of £7,000.

“We have a schedule which gives the figure £12,000 and that is the figure the crown say is correct, and are not prepared to move from that and are not prepared to compromise.

Judge Penny Moreland said a newton hearing, where evidence from both sides can be called before a judge, will be held in October.