A serial con man accused of defrauding a disabled woman and her elderly partner, who was later murdered by a crossbow killer, out of more than £200,000, was today jailed for six years.
Richard Wyn Lewis, 51, of Fferam in Anglesey, previously denied eleven counts of fraud and a single charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Gerald Corrigan, 74, and Marie Bailey, 68, who has multiple sclerosis, were left with ‘virtually nothing’ after £220,000 – £170,000 in cash – were withdrawn from their accounts between 2015 and 2019, when Mr. Corrigan was murdered with a crossbow in an unrelated tragedy.
Richard Wyn Lewis, 51, who was jailed for six years at Mold Crown Court today
Lewis, who had been considered a “good, trusted friend” of the couple, changed his pleas to admit a total of five counts of fraud during the trial, which the prosecution accepted.
He admitted defrauding by making false statements to Mr Corrigan and Ms Bailey regarding the sale and development of their home, Gof Du, the purchase of horses and the purchase of a former school in Llandona, Anglesey.
He also admitted to cheating by making false statements to his neighbor Aidan Maginn about buying a horse – the day after his first court appearance.
Gerald Corrigan, 74, was murdered by a crossbow killer in April 2019. The motive for the murder remains unknown
Richard Wyn Lewis has admitted to scamming Gerald Corrigan and his partner Marie Bailey (pictured) out of more than £200,000
Judge Rhys Rowlands told the defendant at Mold Crown Court in North Wales today: ‘There have been repeated acts of dishonesty over a period of five years. There are five victims.
“Your arrogance was such, after being in court, you committed the new fraud the next day. This is a serious aggravating factor.
The judge said Lewis was “completely dishonest” and that his victims were cared for by him. “If you are capable of rehabilitation after your release, I don’t know. Past experience suggests not.
The court had been told Mr Corrigan’s murder had nothing to do with the fraud, but the facts came to light when Mr Corrigan’s partner, Ms Bailey, was questioned by police after the shooting.
The court heard that Mr Corrigan and Ms Bailey had given Lewis around £220,000 and two days before he died Mr Corrigan allegedly told him: ‘There is no more money’.
Mr Rouch said Lewis claimed there was a potential buyer for Mr Corrigan’s home and sought the help of a retirement planning officer to get clearance for a development.
He also advised Mr Corrigan to set up an offshore bank account, for which he said £120,000 was needed, and to buy land nearby.
The money was paid to Lewis in cash, with no receipts or documents provided, the jury heard.
On one occasion Ms Bailey, a retired local government worker, transferred £50,000 from her bank to the account of Lewis’ partner Siwan Maclean, 53.
Maclean denied money laundering and the prosecution dropped the case against her halfway through the trial.
Wyn Lewis (pictured) was only discovered after police questioned Ms Bailey following the death of her partner
On the third day of his trial at Mold Crown Court, Wyn Lewis (pictured) was arraigned again on the charges and pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud
Lewis’ partner Siwan Maclean (pictured) was charged with entering into a money laundering deal, but the charges were dropped
The vast fraud was only discovered after Mr Corrigan was murdered in April 2019 in Anglesey and police arrived to speak to Ms Bailey.
Prosecution say Lewis lie claimed there was a potential buyer for the pensioners’ remote 35-acre home – Gof Du, near Holyhead, which they could sell for over £2million .
KC prosecutor Peter Rouch said Lewis persuaded Mr Corrigan to ask Ms Bailey to fund the purchase of a former village school near Beaumaris. A builder claimed to be “oven ready” to buy it afterwards.
“Mr. Lewis told him that the school and the land were now his. She now owned Llanddona School. Of course, the school and the land were never acquired and no attempt was even made to acquire them,” the KC said.
Another alleged scam involved the purchase of horses for Mr Corrigan and Miss Bailey. It is claimed that Mr Corrigan gave Lewis £90,000 to buy horses to sell for profit, but, including the alleged stalling fees, around £177,000 was handed over by the victims in cash.
Mr Rouch said Ms Bailey is ‘disabled and vulnerable and the effect of the fraud has been devastating, her retirement hopes torn to shreds’.
During the trial, KC prosecutor Peter Rouch told the jury, “Wyn Lewis is a crook. He’s a fraudster.
He added: “It was all a sham. It was a sham that cost Gerry Corrigan and Marie Bailey several thousand pounds.
In a separate fraud, Wyn Lewis targeted a 69-year-old man, Aidan Maginn, who had a holiday home near the defendants’ home – the day after his first appearance before the magistrates.
Mr Maginn withdrew £10,000 to buy a horse that Wyn Lewis said would be worth £45,000. The bank contacted the police and the withdrawal was stopped. But Mr Maginn said he had given money to Lewis.
Wyn Lewis had also admitted defrauding the owners of two Indian restaurants in Anglesey who had lost at least £4,000.
A proceeds of crime claim will be filed against Lewis who has previous convictions for deception and theft.
Terence Whall (pictured) has been jailed for life after murdering retired lecturer Gerald Corrigan at his home in Wales in a ‘medieval-style execution’
Ms Bailey said in an impact statement that the effect of the frauds was “everything consuming” and that she felt like a refugee fleeing a war zone. She had been “very afraid” of Lewis. “This fraudster attached himself like a leech,” she said. “I feel used and abused.”
Defending Sam Robinson said: “We accept that these are particularly unattractive offenses.”
Mr Corrigan, who had previously worked as a photography and video teacher, was found around 12.35pm with a crossbow bolt in his chest outside his home. He died of his injuries a month later while being treated in hospital.
Terence Whall, 39, was jailed for life in February 2020 for “medieval-style execution”, alongside a concurrent six-year sentence for perverting the course of justice.
The motive for the murder remains unknown, but the judge today stressed that it was unrelated to the fraud allegations.
She told Wyn Lewis Today: ‘His murder is an entirely separate and unrelated matter with nothing to suggest you were involved in any way. This murder remains tragically without a known motive.
Mrs. Justice Jefford told Whall during his trial: “You have deprived Mr. Corrigan’s family of any explanation of what was a horrific death in which Mr. Corrigan was completely blameless.” For your own reasons, you clearly had a plan to kill.
She added: “Your arrogant belief that you could get away with murder was misplaced.”
Whall had previously denied killing the pensioner, who died a month after being shot in the chest with a crossbow bolt on April 19 last year.
Prosecuting Anna Pope told the court how Whall, from east London, hid behind a wall outside the pensioner’s remote home and tampered with the satellite dish to lure him into the garden where he had shot her.
Whall initially claimed he was at his home in Bryngwran the night of the shooting.
He later claimed he had a sexual relationship with his friend Barry Williams, who denied the allegations, in a nearby field after the GPS device was recovered from his Land Rover Discovery.