Wythenshawe conman jailed after pretending daughter had leukemia to dupe cash

A scrounging Wythenshawe father who duped strangers into giving him cash handouts by falsely claiming his 11-year old daughter had cancer has been locked up for 18 months.

Garry Lyon, 47, tugged on the heartstrings of well wishers by spinning sob stories about his child lying gravely ill in Manchester’s world famous Christie Hospital ”with tubes coming out of her arms.”

In fact, a daughter of Lyon, who is now 15, had contracted leukaemia in 2009 when she was younger but had made a full recovery. Lyon duped victims by falsely claiming he had run out of petrol on the way to see her in hospital.

On one occasion he targeted an 80-year-old woman after he told her his bank card had snapped and he needed £20 to buy fuel.  The father of two from Sharston, near Wythenshawe, claimed he would repay the cash but gave a false name and telephone number.

On another occasion he was given £10 by a stranger after  saying he needed to pick his son from hospital following surgery to treat leukaemia. He even told the victim cheekily: “Mate, that’s really not enough. £20 will see me through.”

In another con, Lyon showed a tattoo of his daughter’s name to a man and after getting £20 said: ”I swear on my daughter’s life I will pay you back.” Lyon told a fourth victim who gave him £40: “You are the kindest man I ever met.”

Manchester Crown Court heard that in addition to the frauds, jobless Lyon, who has 42 previous convictions, repeatedly stole from his 70 year old disabled mother Anna. Whilst she was on holiday in America Lyon stole her bank card and began plundering her funds in order to fund his £50 per day crack cocaine habit.

One of Lyon’s victims admitted he was suspicious of Lyon’s sob story and even told him: “If you are lying, you will go to hell.” He later told police: “I didn’t really believe a word but thought it’s better to be conned than be wrong and this is someone genuinely in that situation.”  Another said: “It was a scummy thing to do. He abused my good faith.”

Lyon pleaded guilty to four thefts, eight counts of fraud and one count of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Prosecuting, Graham Robinson said: “The first complainant was 80 years old. She was was approached by the defendant who used a ruse he was to repeat many times, saying his daughter was in The Christie hospital and he had ran out of petrol. He said his bank card had snapped and asked her if he could borrow £20.

“He gave some details as to how she would recover the money, which were false. She paid over that money trusting what he had said to her.”

The second victim, targeted on September 28 2013, was again spun the same tale.

“He believed what he was told and, demonstrating generosity, took the defendant in his own car to a local petrol station and then gave the defendant £23 in cash,” Mr Robinson added.

On March 20 2014, while Lyon was on bail having been arrested for the earlier frauds, he began offending again.

Mr Robinson said: “The victim was told ‘can you help me, I have run out of diesel on the way to The Christie, my daughter has tubes coming out of her arms and she has leukaemia’. The complainant gave him £15.”

On another occasion, Lyon lied and said he was the one with leukaemia. “On June 26 2014 the complainant was driving along and as he got a text he pulled over and the defendant was banging on the window saying ‘I have got leukaemia, I have just got out of hospital and have these in my arms’,” Mr Robinson added.

“To prove it there was some medical implement in his arm which he showed to the victim. He said his credit card had snapped and his nine-year-old son had been left in the car and it had ran out of petrol. The victim felt scared and felt the defendant might assault him.”

In a separate offence Lyon stole the bank card of his mother who used a mobility scooter and withdrew £1,500 on 23 occasions using a telephone banking service.  She returned from her holiday to find her son had taken £6,000 worth of jewellery which was later retrieved from a pawnbrokers.

In mitigation, defence counsel Tom McKail said: “The offences committed by this defendant against the public are deplorable and he is disgusted and embarrassed by his behaviour. He has also taken advantage of a previously supporting and loving family and apologises to all parties who have been affected by his behaviour and selfish ways.

“At the end of 2012 the defendant’s daughter did indeed suffer from leukaemia but recovered, but while given the all clear his relationship with his then-partner, the mother of his two daughters deteriorated. As a by-product he fell back into a way of life he believed he had left behind.”

But sentencing Lyon, the judge Miss Recorder Fiona Barry said: “You repeatedly used your daughter’s previous ill health to illicit sympathy and generosity to fund your drug addiction. Some victims were vulnerable and another was scared.  It is not possible to suspend this sentence.”

Story via Cavendish Press.

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