Make sure you avoid this lowlife

This story is courtesy of The Mirror

DON'T be fooled by the pinstripe suit that Sean White wears - he is a despicable, lowlife and was was part of a gang that fleeced a dying widow of her £272,000 life savings. More than her life savings, in fact: Anne Cornock was so ­terrified of the gang that, despite never needing her overdraft before, at the age of 75 she suddenly asked for it to be increased.

We'll never know what threats and lies the shameless thugs used, because Anne has since died, her bank account empty. This shocking saga began with cold-callers offering to do home improvements. But once they had their claws into her they never let her go.
From just one NatWest branch in Penarth, South Wales, Anne took out £6,000 on May 6, 2008, then £4,500 on July 22, £4,500 a week later, and £4,000 on August 19. It went on for a year until, increasingly frail, Anne took £6,500 from the bank's branch at Cardiff University Hospital. It was her last withdrawal. Two days later she was admitted to the same hospital - and never went home.

This frugal woman who lived in a modest bungalow and who'd been so careful with money had handed over a total of £272,300. Cardiff estate agent Sean White, 25, is the only person caught in connection with this hideous crime and he's pleaded guilty to money laundering £115,000.

"White and his mates destroyed the last year of my mother's life," said her son David. "She was too ashamed and intimidated to tell anyone, which had a huge impact on her health. By the time she saw a doctor, it was too late. White has refused to reveal the other people behind this. They are still out there, probably still targeting vulnerable elderly people. Our mother was an intelligent woman - if she could fall for this, anyone could."

He believes NatWest bears some responsibility. Anne was a former employee, an "Advantage Gold" client with a "relationship manager" and a customer of NatWest's Premium Investment Management Service and Personal Tax Service. Why didn't it help?
NatWest, which has offered £60,000 to David and his sister as a goodwill gesture, insists staff did once follow Anne outside to see if she was being intimidated, and asked about her withdrawals, but Anne gave plausible explanations or didn't want to discuss it.
Not surprising if you live alone, are dying of cancer and are tormented by local lowlifes.

David, who works in London for the BBC, says: "I accept she gave plausible reasons for some withdrawals, but surely the pattern merited further investigation.We are talking about a vulnerable pensioner behaving in a totally out of character way."

In a sad twist, David this week read in his local paper of a woman saved from giving £30,000 to rogue builders because a NatWest manager just called the police.If only he'd been around in Anne Cornock's hour of need.

If you sign on the dotted line you'll have a seven day cooling off period - but if you agree in writing for installation to take place within this period you are waiving this consumer right

"These companies seem to be working their way from one area to another so we would urge residents across the country to be on their guard," said Ron Gainsford, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute. "Consumers should never feel rushed to sign up to anything and remember the mantra: any deal that is too good to be true, probably is.

"Salesmen trying to sell you something over the phone or on your doorstep could be anyone. Talk to family, friends or neighbours if you are unsure or worried, or contact Consumer Direct, who will be able to advise and refer the case to the relevant trading standards department where appropriate."

Always use a company recommended buy a friend or found in a local approved trader scheme, and where possible ask for three quotes.