The independent London newspaper

Pensioner’s savings stolen by bogus water workers

Neighbours launch fundraising effort after con artists targeted 70-year-old Mary

16 March, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Mary Garvey recovering at her home in Holloway

KIND-HEARTED neighbours have rallied around a vulnerable pensioner targeted by con artists who stole thousands of pounds of her savings.

Mary Garvey, 70, had £6,400 stolen from her home in Kingsdown Road, off Holloway Road, last Thursday during a distraction burglary by two men pretending to check her water pressure.

So incensed by what had happened to Ms ­Garvey, who lives alone and is confined to her bed by several health conditions, her neighbour Vanessa Moore launched an online fundraising drive.

She hopes to raise money to replace some of Ms Garvey’s savings, which were to pay for her funeral or vets’ bills for her two cats, Snowy and Snowdrop.

Police are now trying to track down the two suspects who rifled through Ms Garvey’s home and found the cash box under a living room chair.

Ms Garvey, who lives on her own, said: “Normally I ask for identification but I was so exhausted I said ‘come in’. He came in the kitchen and he made me bring my chair to the middle of the kitchen.

“I said, ‘I can’t really sit down for long, I’m better when I lie down than sit down’.”

The man then brought his associate into the home, but made Ms Garvey sit on a chair in the kitchen while the other rifled through her front room.

“In the end I said ‘I couldn’t do it any more I’ve got to get up’, so he talked loudly I think to let his friend know, so he must have gone out,” she said.

“He just threw the chair to one side and he was in such a rush to get out.

“Just within a few seconds I could have been dead or badly injured if I had come into the room to see what was happening. It’s better to lose the money than my life.”

Ms Garvey, who has arthritis, said she stored the money in her house because she didn’t trust banks after the financial crisis ­several years ago, but never thought she’d be the target of such a crime.

About the suspects, she said: “I have no sympathy for them, I don’t give a damn about them. The money would’ve gone towards my funeral as otherwise my family would have to pay for it and I don’t want them to have to pay for anything. Now I’ll be in a pauper’s grave.”

At the time of going to press, more than £450 had been raised by dozens of people for Ms Garvey.

Ms Moore, 48, said: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting what the men did. It feels great being able to help her.”

Ms Garvey added: “The fundraising felt embarrassing at first – I always give and I’m not a taker. But at the same time it’s something I would do and I wouldn’t like people feeling down about it, so I’m more than grateful to her.”

The suspects are described as two white men, aged 25 to 35, of slim build and with Irish accents. No arrests have yet been made.

Anyone with information about the burglary should call 101 quoting CAD 6601/08MAR or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous.

To donate visit


Share this story

Post a comment