A con artist who duped a man he met on a gay dating website out of more than £1,000 has been placed under supervision for a year.
Joshua Bannister posed as a junior barrister to trick his victim into a relationship – before stealing from him and his mother.
Bannister, 22, of All Saints Road in Darlaston, was found guilty in his absence at a trial of four thefts and following arrest was summoned to Dudley Magistrates’ Court.
Bannister wept as his solicitor Mr Himat Sidhu told the hearing his client was remorseful and ashamed, and keen to turn his life around by going to university.
Mrs Maxine Jarrousse-Jones, prosecuting, told the hearing unemployed Bannister posed as a junior barrister when he first met the victim over a dating website.
She said: “The victim was in a relationship with Mr Bannister for three months and during that time, Mr Bannister stayed and lived with him in his mother's house in Coseley. It is alleged Mr Bannister has stolen money from a tin in the house belonging to the victim's mother.
“The victim also alleged to have had a Vivienne Westwood necklace stolen. He also stated Mr Bannister had access to his internet banking and had taken money – £170 and then £1,000.”
Mrs Jarrousse-Jones said Bannister pretended to update phone software from the victim's laptop when he transferred £170 into his own account. When the second amount was transferred to Bannister’s account, the victim said he was at work.
The victim had received the money lost in the account transfers from the bank – but the necklace, worth £270, and the money in the house tin, believed to be about £130 was still missing.
Mr Sidhu said Bannister was too unwell to turn up for his trial – but said he accepted the magistrates’ verdict.
He said: “He is clearly remorseful of his actions, this was not the direction he wants his life to go and he felt ashamed.”
Chairman of the bench, Mrs Lynne Coyle, gave Bannister a 12-month community order with a supervision requirement.
She also ordered him to pay £270 compensation to the victim for the necklace and £130 to the victim's mother.
He must also pay £725 court costs.