Terror of conman's elderly woman victim
THE ELDERLY victim of callous conman Paul Byrne said she was so afraid after his chilling threats that she did not leave her house for two weeks.
The woman, who does not want to be named, welcomed the five-year jail term for the 48-year-old.
She bravely attended Plymouth Crown Court to face the man who had defrauded and then blackmailed her.
The woman said: "It was terrible. It took me two weeks before I ventured out of the house. He said he had been watching me and knew I went out for a smoke in the evening."
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She now believes Byrne made a lucky guess, knowing she was a smoker from the time he spent at her hotel almost two years before.
"He is just a typical conman. He has come out with so many lies. But the habit is so ingrained, I am sure he will do it again once he is released."
But the woman said Byrne, using another name, was so plausible when he first turned up at the hotel two years ago, claiming to be the head of a building crew.
She said he claimed he had lost £400 at a card game in a city pub and persuaded her to lend him £500, even going to the cashpoint with her to withdraw the money.
The woman said: "I was thoroughly ashamed of myself to be conned in that way. I was such an idiot. I did not tell my family for a month.
"I felt guilty at the time."
Detective Constable Alicia Pointon, who helped bring Byrne to justice, welcomed the sentence.
She said: "We were pretty appalled at what he has done. He seems to prey on vulnerable victims while disguised as a travelling salesman.
"He has committed offences all over the country. We welcome the sentence, which will stop him preying on vulnerable victims for a few years."