Pensioner starves himself to death after being fleeced by cowboy builders


A worried pensioner ”starved himself to death” after a gang of cowboy builders fleeced him of £7,000 – to replace ONE tile on his roof.

Tragic Cyril Jenkins, 88, was originally quoted £250 by four men who pulled up outside his house in a builder’s van.

But after he agreed the conmen drove him to the bank, where he withdrew £3,000 and later £4,000 of his life savings.

The former businessman was so shocked by the con that he stopped eating and lost five-and-a half stone in weight.

He died in hospital weighing just seven stone because he was too weak to fight off a heart problem.

Now two members of the gang Owen Crumlish, 29, and Leo Larkin, 35, have been jailed for nine months at Bristol Crown Court for fraud by false representation.

Yesterday Cyril’s son John, 62, said his proud dad never recovered from the trauma of being conned.

He said: ”Dad was so ashamed of being ripped off. I was very surprised when he got caught out because he was always very astute.

”He had always been dead sharp about money all his life and he would have been the last person you would expect this to happen to.

”It just played on his mind but he bottled it all up inside him. That’s why he lost his weight and in my opinion these men were the cause of his death.

”He was a very proud man and losing the money knocked him off his feet. He went quiet after that. He just stopped eating. He went from 12 and a half stone to seven stone.”

”He wouldn’t admit that he was starving himself to death. He denied anything was wrong and he would just say I’m not feeling hungry.”

Grandfather-of-four Cyril, who ran his own carpet business CH Jenkins for 35 years from his home in Fishponds, Bristol, was conned in April last year.

A family friend who is a builder was due to repair the tile but was tied up on another job.

Cyril was tending to the front garden of his large semi-detatched home when a van containing Crumlish, of Easton, Bristol, and Larkin pulled up.

The men offered to do repair work to his roof for £250 but after a brief inspection falsely claimed that the job was larger than expected.

They escorted father-of-two Cyril to a bank in the nearby Cabot Circus shopping centre and he handed over £3,000 in cash.

The following day the gang worked on the roof but instead of fixing the original problem they caused a further £1,600 of damage.

They then took Cyril to the bank a second time and he gave them £4,000.

When they returned the following week demanding more money Cyril contacted police and the gang were arrested in their van on April 24.

But the shock of being tricked out of his savings caused Cyril to stop eating and his weight dropped from 12.5 to seven stone in just six months.

He was admitted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol in August last year and tragically died on October 29 after he was overcome by a long-standing heart problem.

Crumlish, who had already served a three-year jail term for distraction burglary, and Larkin, who also used the name Patrick O’Lorcain, were jailed for nine months.

Jailing Crumlish, Judge Jamie Tabor QC described the offence he and Larkin committed as ”detestable”.

He said: ”You pleaded guilty at the very last minute to an offence which the public detests.

”The offence was this, you and Mr Larkin targeted an elderly man in order that he would have as much money sucked out of his account as possible.

”I can’t ignore the fact that Mr Jenkins was caused very great unhappiness and sadness to the extent that he was never quite the same man again and died soon afterwards.”

But Cyril’s son John, who gave up his job as a bus driver to care for his parents before his mother Frances died in 2006, slammed the sentences as too light.

He said: ”I had hoped for more but I have seen enough in my time to realise they never get what they deserve.”



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