A cold caller who became a “figure of horror” has been sentenced for driving an elderly couple into 73,000 of debt.
Barbara Stone pressured John and Olga Moyle into buying advertising space while working at Leicester-based Aspire magazine, a court heard.
The 62-year-old, who previously admitted two counts of fraud, was given a 22-month suspended prison term.
Judge Stuart Rafferty told said she had “made people’s lives a misery” and “hounded [the Stones] to death.”
The Moyles’ daughter, Franny, said she was “very disappointed” with the sentence, describing the defendant as a “nightmare” for the family.
The court was told Stone, of Taunton Close, Wigston, cold called the Moyles in 2010 and convinced them to place adverts for their small holiday home in France.
For nearly 10 months – while Mrs Moyle was being treated for cancer – up to 8,000 a month was taken from their account, finally totalling 73,000.
Stone told them sponsors – who did not exist – would reimburse the money.
‘Still keeps me awake’
Ms Moyle told the BBC: “Stone would ring my father every day, putting him under huge pressure – harassing him.
“My father didn’t realise that amount of money was going out because he wasn’t checking his accounts – he wasn’t checking his accounts because my mother was dying.
“[When I found out] I was horrified, was in shock – seven years later it still keeps me awake at night.”
The court also heard the couple were conned out of an additional 30,000 by Derby-based Wyvern Media, itself the subject of a major court case last year.
The resulting debts meant the Moyles had to sell their Shropshire home of 50 years. Both have since died.
The second fraud charge related to Stone taking 14,000 from a dog shelter in Shropshire.
Her defence team said she was stressed at work, eager to please bosses and did not receive any of the money.
Ms Moyle said: “[Stone] must be without scruple, she has become a figure of horror.”
James Delaney from Trading Standards said: “[Stone] was callous and manipulative. She relentlessly targeted people who begged her to stop.
“Unfortunately the Moyles are not here today and I’m sure her behaviour had an impact on their final years.”
Aspire has not commented on the case.
Read more: www.bbc.co.uk