Groom who cheated new bride out of £22,000 is jailed

A gambling addict who cheated his new bride out of more than £22,000 has been jailed for eight months.

Tim and Jo Jones
Tim and Jo Jones

Timothy Jones from Burntwood plundered the bank account of primary school teacher Jo Jones and used two credit cards in her name behind her back.

Mrs Jones knew nothing about the frauds until she was giving him a hug and felt a large roll of banknotes in his pocket, Stafford Crown Court heard.

When she tried to check her bank account, she found her online passwords were rejected and her suspicions were confirmed when she found the account had a balance of just £91.

Jones, aged 48, of Sister Dora Avenue, Burntwood was jailed after admitting three charges of making false representations.

Recorder Professor Martin Wasik (correct) told him: "It gives me no pleasure sending a man like you to jail [but] it is the breach of trust which makes this so serious.

"This whole fraud was perpetrated against [your wife], using her ID as a means of accessing her account as a way to finance your gambling addiction. When you first met her you already had problems. You were unable to address that problem and the issue continued throughout the time you were in the relationship."

Mr Neil Ahuja, prosecuting, said the total defrauded from Mrs Jones was £22,251. It included £7,692 from her bank account, £6,543 on one credit card and more than £8,000 on another. The cards had been dormant but the defendant reactivated them.

The couple's relationship started in February 2009 after they met at a theatrical group, but they did not marry until the summer last year.

Mrs Jones was the breadwinner for the family while her husband studied on a college course and looked after the household, the court was told.

Matters started to come to light last December when Mrs Jones was hugging him and noticed the roll of banknotes in his pocket after he had come back from the shops.

Her suspicions aroused, she tried to access her bank account online and her password was not recognised. Whilst they were Christmas shopping in Tamworth a couple of days later, she manually checked her account and found just £91 in it.

The defendant 'drip fed' confessions to his wife about his gambling problems and she, still supportive, tried to persuade him to go to the police, but he left the house making threats to kill himself. Mrs Jones did contact the police, who arrested her husband when he returned home.

When questioned he told officers he had a gambling problem with gaming machines and betting shops which was out of control. It had started eight or nine years ago and he had debts already when he met his wife-to-be.

Mr Paul Lamb, defending, said: "He has shown a great deal of regret and remorse for the distress and difficulties he has inflicted on his now estranged wife and step children."

Jones had obtained a degree and a teaching qualification and had been employed as a supply teacher, but that career was now closed to him as a result of this conviction.