A PENSIONER has vowed there will be “no forgiveness” for a former friend who stole his life savings.
Kevin Flounders was yesterday put behind bars for leaving 72-year-old Randolph Alvez penniless, after taking £20,000 from him.
However, the 46-year-old was told he would only have to pay back £1, because he has no assets.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the former merchant seaman, who is now wheelchair-bound, had agreed to invest the cash in a mobile fish and chip business, and deposited £20,000 into a Leeds Building Society account set up for that purpose.
The court heard when the venture stalled in its early days, Mr Alvez believed his cash was still safely in the bank, gathering interest.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard, within days of the money being deposited in 2010, Flounders had started helping himself to it.
Within seven weeks, the account balance had gone from £20,000 to just £3.
It was in September last year when Mr Alvez made a trip to the bank to check his balance he realised he had been duped.
Flounders, of Witham Road, Hebburn, admitted theft and fraud. Mr Recorder Michael Slater jailed him for nine months.
The judge told him: “In a seven-week period in 2010 you stole £20,000 from your friend and potential business associate Mr Alvez.
“This was a serious breach of trust of a vulnerable complainant, as I find him to be.”
“Mr Alvez lost his life savings and he’s not going to get them back.”
The court heard Mr Alvez knew Flounder’s father from his days at sea and had been happy to help him when he turned up at the pensioner’s door, down on his luck.
Over the years the men grew so close that Flounders was paid £50 per week by the pensioner to act as his unofficial carer.
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Alvez said he felt utterly betrayed and added: “There is no forgiveness at all. I will never forgive him.
“I want my money back. There has been no apologies, he has not come to me at all.”
Brian Hegarty, defending, said Flounders, who has no previous convictions, had a troubled background and was in the grip of a gambling addiction when he took the cash.
Mr Hegarty said: “He thought he could increase the amount of money they had for investment.
“When he began losing money he began chasing the losses with the perhaps inevitable consequence, he ended up losing it all.
“He felt if he could get more money to buy a lottery ticket, his luck would change. Of course, that never happened.”
The judge made a finding that Flounders had benefited by £20,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act, but as he has no assets, ordered him to pay back just £1.
The judge added prosecutors can pursue the rest of the cash if Flounders has a “windfall” in future.