Norfolk man who told one theft victim he had cancer and another that he was a royal marine is jailed for his “utterly despicable” behaviour

David Andrews theft and fraud court case. Victims Melanie Pointer and Heather Neal.
Photo by Simon Finlay. David Andrews theft and fraud court case. Victims Melanie Pointer and Heather Neal. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Saturday, June 28, 2014
6:51 AM

A man who told one woman he had cancer and another he was a former Royal Marine who had served in Afghanistan before stealing items belonging to their children, including one who was being treated for a serious kidney condition, has been jailed after he was described as “utterly despicable” by a judge.

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David Andrews, 32, was “living a lie” and got into relationships with two women, on the back of creating a back story about himself, before stealing from their children and selling the goods for himself.

After becoming involved with Heather Neal, from Spixworth, in June 2012 he told her that he had cancer and that it had flared up again resulting in her taking him to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for treatment he did not need or have during August 2012.

Andrews, who would walk around the hospital while she waited in the car, then stole her daughter’s iPad.

The defendant then became involved with Melanie Poynter, of Cromer, who he told he had been a Royal Marine who had served in Afghanistan but was suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of what he had seen. He stole her daughter’s iPad at a time when she was receiving treatment for a serious kidney condition in hospital.

The iPad, which contains sentimental material, including the only pictures and video Miss Poynter has of her daughter taking part in the Olympic Torch relay in 2012, was sold along with the other items Andrews stole from the first victim.

Andrews, of The Walkway, Walcott, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced having previously admitted two counts of theft and fraud by false representation.

Jailing Andrews for 20 months, Judge Stephen Holt branded the defendant a “liar” who told “lie after lie” and managed to “wheedle his way” into the lives of vulnerable women who were both single parents who were struggling to bring up families.

Judge Holt said: “The lies you told were quite incredible. The bigger the lie the more likely people are to believe it.”

He added: “ In my view what you did was utterly despicable.

“This is one of the worst types of case, on its facts, of this particular offence that I’ve come across.”

Andrews was charged following the theft of electrical equipment including an iPad and an Xbox Connect from two separate victims. He then resold some of these stolen items, claiming they were his property.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said: “Essentially he was living a lie, creating a back story to ingratiate himself to these women and when in these relationships committed these offences.”

The court also heard from both victims who bravely read out victim personal statements despite being reduced to tears by what Andrews had done to them.

Miss Neal said his lies were “constant” and described how she would take him to hospital after he told her his cancer had flared up and was told to wait in the car while he supposedly received treatment.

She said her daughter was “really upset” by the theft and had thought a stranger had been in the house. Miss Neal said she has found it “very hard” to trust men since.

Miss Poynter, who was told he was a marine who had shot children in Afghanistan, said Andrews “betrayed my trust by stealing from me and my family”.

Richard Wood, for Andrews, said what he did to these two women was of a “very unpleasant character” and “wholly unacceptable” but indicated he deserved full credit for his guilty pleas and might need “professional help”.

Have you got a crime story? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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