Conman who targeted elderly jailed
A man described as "an incorrigible rogue and liar" who preyed on vulnerable people to scam money for petrol has been jailed for 16 months.
Christchurch District Court Judge Noel Walsh ruled out home detention for Kim Michael David Barwell, 47, saying it was an inadequate sentence for "deliberate and recidivist dishonesty".
The offending involved 65 con-jobs around Christchurch.
Barwell had pleaded guilty to 65 charges of causing people a loss by deception - his petrol scam story that netted him $5080.
For more than a year, Barwell had "preyed on the well-intentioned and vulnerable members of society", Judge Walsh said.
He had targeted mainly elderly people and his victims ranged in age from 20 years to 80 years.
He approached them at supermarkets, car parks, service stations, outside banks and automatic teller machines, outside the hospital, or at their homes.
Barwell would begin by saying he was embarrassed to ask, but he needed money for petrol to get home to Hororata.
He would often explain that his bipolar wife had left her handbag on the table. He would usually give a false name and assure them that they would be repaid.
Most people handed over amounts ranging from $10 to $80, but some charges refer to amounts ranging up to $380.
Defence counsel David Goldwater said it started out as a scheme to beg for money to help his family, but he admitted the scheme was "hare-brained".
Judge Walsh noted that Barwell had 327 previous convictions, including two for aggravated robbery in 1994 when he was aged 19, and an earlier assault with intent to injure.
He had nine previous convictions for driving while he was disqualified or his licence was suspended.
Judge Walsh imposed a series of concurrent jail terms totalling 16 months, with six months of post-release conditions, and disqualification from driving for a year.
He also ordered Barwell to pay $5080 back to his victims after his jail term.
Judge Walsh said: "I unreservedly find that you are an incorrigible rogue and a liar and you have no sense of morality."
One of Barwell's victims was told off by the police in court for making a thumbs-up gesture and calling out "Yes!" as Barwell was taken to the cells.
The man said outside that he had been conned out of $140, and had confronted Barwell three times after finding out his address, but got none of the money back.