Dancing banana charity conman, 56, who fleeced disabled woman and her daughter out of £400 is spared jail
A CHARITY conman who dressed up as a banana while claiming to be raising cash for children has been spared jail for fleecing a disabled woman.
Kevin Cole, 56, promised a £30,000 grant to renovate old school friend Sarah Roberts' run-down home if she gave him £300 in advance.
Ms Roberts, in her 50s, suffers from multiple sclerosis and did not have electricity and gas at her home, Inner London Crown Court heard.
Cole also promised her 19-year-old daughter Lucy Roberts she could have a job as his “secretary” if she paid him £100 for a “uniform”.
However, no job was offered and the uniform did not turn up.
The court heard Cole, also known as “Peter Penfold”, has convictions for dishonesty, burglary, theft, and assaults.
Footage on YouTube shows Cole dancing in the road dressed as a banana while claiming to raise money for a children's cancer charity in 2014.
He has now been unanimously convicted of two counts of fraud by a jury and sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for two years.
Your behaviour during this trial has been appalling, when you gave evidence you were rude to the judge and to others in the court room."
The judge further ordered to pay £400 compensation to Sarah Roberts and complete 120 hours unpaid work.
Judge Usha Karu said: “In this case taking £400 in this callous manner from Sarah and Lucy Roberts who say that caused her a great deal of stress and anxiety.
“Lucy Roberts says she felt humiliated and lots of anxiety, of course she had to give up her job, she waited for employment and had to swallow her pride and ask for her job back.
“Your behaviour during this trial has been appalling, when you gave evidence you were rude to the judge and to others in the court room.
“You simply did not accept that you must not speak in the way that you did, the jury, I'm sure, were not impressed by that. You have no mitigation.”
The jury heard he had also been accused of fleecing a charity in 2017 at Blackfriars Crown Court, but the prosecution dropped the charge.
Robin Griffiths defending, said: “This is in effect a man who's turned over a new leaf.
“He's living a completely different life now, his last conviction of dishonesty was when he was living on the streets surviving.”
Cole, of Mitcham, South London, was convicted of two counts of fraud and sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for two years with 120 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £400 compensation to Ms Roberts.
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