Jail time on remand seen as enough for scammer

Court House-Sept-2013-06Inveterate scammer of the elderly for petrol money, Kim Michael David Barwell, won’t have to serve more prison time for his latest crimes after spending four months in custody on remand.

The 48-year-old Riccarton labourer will have to do 100 hours of community work imposed by Judge Raoul Neave at his Christchurch District Court sentencing on eight charges of obtaining money by deception.

The police agreed to withdraw two other charges where the victims of Barwell’s scam said they had not expected to get their money back after he approached them for petrol money.

He would usually tell victims that he had left his wallet at home, or it had been stolen, or his new bank card was not working. People would hand over amounts ranging from $20 to $200.

Defence counsel Miranda Rout said Barwell had spent 120 days in prison from his arrest to when he was released on bail last month. That was the equivalent of an eight-month jail sentence.

She had confirmed that he had paid all the money back to the victims with a payment to the courts’ Collections Department in July, a total of $755.

Judge Neave said: “You approached a number people – mostly elderly, which I am sure is no coincidence – and cajoled them into providing you with money because you claimed to be short of money for petrol.

“You have got the most appalling history of dishonesty, all of which involves very similar offending.”

He noted that Barwell had paid the money back, and he and his partner were getting budgeting advice and help from the St Vincent de Paul Society. He took into account the time already served on remand.

“You are taking positive steps to try to address your issues. I’ll let you get on with it, and hope that it proves to be not a false dawn,” said the judge.

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