Sunderland conwoman took money from pensioner with dementia and left her in distress

Kayla Banton
Kayla Banton

A serial criminal conned cash from a "very frightened" pensioner with dementia by claiming she needed money to help her own gran.

Kayla Banton, who has been jailed for stealing from an elderly victim in the past, walked into her victim's home and told the vulnerable 78-year-old, whose husband was bedbound after a stroke, that she needed "money for her nana".

Newcastle Crown Court heard the the pensioner handed over around £80 and was left "very distressed" by the confrontation with a stranger at her home.

Banton, of North View, Sunderland, who admitted fraud, has now been given a suspended sentence after spending six months behind bars on remand.

The court heard the 30-year-old conwoman had been knocking on doors in Grangetown, Sunderland, and asking for cash on the early morning of April 4.

She was spotted by a neighbour going into her victim's home and then "run off".

A short time later, the victim spoke to her daughter over the phone, in an "extremely distressed state".

Prosecutor Paul Currer told the court: "She explained she had gone into the bedroom and found a woman in the house she didn't know.

"The woman was in her husband's room. She spoke to the defendant, who had asked her for money. The defendant claimed she needed money for her nana.

"The complainant had been very frightened and gave her money from her purse.

"The defendant asked for more. She gave her more. She estimated, in total, about £80."

Banton was arrested, with £55 in cash in her bra, but claimed the victim had given her just £11.

Mr Currer added: "She stated her nana needed money and the elderly lady had given her some."

The court heard Banton has convictions for 28 previous offences, including violence and drugs, and was jailed for 40 months in 2014 for stealing from a 66-year-old man with Parkinson's Disease.

Judge Robert Adams told Banton: "You were seen to approach the address and, in due course, seen to leave, running from the premises.

"The complainant is vulnerable and suffers from dementia. Her husband even more so, suffering from a stroke and being bedridden.

"They had left the door unlocked to allow a carer to enter and you took advantage of it."

Judge Adams sentenced Banton to 21 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with rehabilitation requirements and a restraining order to keep her away from the victim's house.

The judge told her: "Had you not served so long in custody, it would be an immediate custodial sentence.

"You have served that sentence and significantly beyond that.

"I make it clear to the public that this is suspended purely because you have already served a custodial term."

The judge said the public would be better served by Banton now receiving intervention and help from officials to stop her offending in future.

Penny Hall, defending, said Banton has a long history of mental health problems and is keen to accept professional assistance.

Miss Hall said Banton has "struggled enormously" in custody and that drugs are at the heart of her offending.