Traveller could not explain his riches
A JOBLESS traveller who lived at a site between Bitteswell and Ullesthorpe paid £23,900 in cash towards a convertible sports car, hoping to impress his ex-girlfriend, a court heard.
Patrick O’Brien (36) claimed the majority of the cash came from the sale of a caravan and family heirlooms, but admitted he could not account for 40 per cent of the money.
Leicester Crown Court was told O’Brien ordered a new £48,000 Mercedes Benz E350 convertible from a dealership in Liverpool, in March 2010.
It was being built to order in Germany and there was a waiting list for the vehicle, which he never actually took possession of.
O’Brien – who was on £64-a-week job seekers’ allowance – wanted to pay the full amount in cash but the dealership would only accept £5,000, with the rest having to involve a bank.
With just £25 in his bank account, he made four lump sum cash payments, totalling £18,900, via four different bank transactions, between March and May, 2010.
Adrian Harris, prosecuting, said that on June 2, 2010, the police arrested the defendant at Ullesthorpe travellers’ site, in Bitteswell.
Officers searched his caravan and found documentation relating to the instalments made on the Mercedes.
O’Brien, who admitted converting criminal property, was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 120 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Simon Hammond said: “You’ve escaped going to prison by the skin of your teeth. A good chunk of this money was criminal property.”
David Ewings, mitigating, said: “About 60 per cent of the money was his life savings.
“His long-term relationship with his partner ended and he was absolutely heartbroken.
“He thought if he bought a high end car he might demonstrate he was a man of substance and she would rethink her decision.”
Mr Ewings said O’Brien raised £12,000 from the sale of a caravan and £2,500 by selling chinaware heirlooms. However, he could not account for £9,400.
There was no mention in court of how he intended paying the £24,100 balance on the vehicle.
Mr Ewings said O’Brien planned to make a profit by later re-selling the car.
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