A WOMAN who tried to strip a Burton pensioner’s bank account of more than £275,000 and then fled to Africa has been jailed for 18 months.
Mother of two Sarah Grimshaw was arrested at Manchester Airport after six years on the run.
Stafford Crown Court heard how she and her mother Josephine, pretending to be Mary Rigby and her daughter, went into Lloyds Bank in Station Street, Burton, in a bid to make three large transfers of cash.
Using a fake passport in Mrs Rigby’s name, they asked for £154,000 to be transferred to an account in Cyprus, £30,000 to an account in Sarah Grimshaw’s name and a further transfer of £92,000 to another account.
But ‘quick-witted’ bank clerk Hayley Buxton, suspicious of the two women, called Mrs Rigby, who was on holiday in Majorca, and discovered the fraud.
Peter Grice, prosecuting, said the clerk called police and the Grimshaws were arrested in the bank in May 2007.
Both of them subsequently pleaded guilty to offences of dishonesty and Josephine Grimshaw, then aged 47, from Leigh, in Lancashire, was jailed for 12 months at a hearing in June 2008.
But her daughter failed to turn up to be sentenced and disappeared.
She was arrested on a flight back from Tanzania on June 8 and remanded in custody.
Sarah Grimshaw, now aged 27, was jailed after admitting charges of attempted theft and failure to answer bail.
Judge Mark Eades told her: “You went in to this with your eyes open, knowing what you were doing.
“Had you been at the top of this organisation, you would be going to prison for a very long time.”
After their arrest, the two women told officers they had been contacted by a man who asked them if they wanted to make some money.
They were taken from Manchester to London, spent three days in a hotel there before being provided with the false passport and were then driven to the Lloyds branch in Burton.
Mr Justice Saunders, sentencing Josephine Grimshaw in 2008 told her:
“The people at the top of this organisation had the means and know-how to find out people who had very large sums of money in their bank accounts and devise schemes for getting that money out. They needed a woman of your sort of age.”
Nicholas Ross, for Sarah Grimshaw, said the £30,000 to be transferred to her bank account was to be used by her then partner, a 32 year-old-man, not by her.
She had made a conscious decision not to come back to court. She was 21 at the time, pregnant and in a relationship with a man from Tanzania.
She already had one child and her focus was on the welfare of her children.
She left the UK to live in Tanzania - there were no extradition proceedings.
Mr Ross said: “She returned under her own steam to face the music.”