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Former Dial-A-Ride driver was accused of defrauding elderly woman
A FORMER Dial-A-Ride driver was cleared of defrauding an elderly woman to pay off a £55 debt.
Iain Langham, 60, of Bridge Street, Overton, denied the single count of fraud and chose to be tried by a jury at Win-chester Crown Court.
The jury took just 40 minutes to return a verdict of not guilty after the two-day trial.
The person who made the allegation was Margaret Barber, of Bernstein Road, Brighton Hill, who used the Dial-A-Ride service for the disabled, to get around Basingstoke in the charity’s minibus, as she had a prosthetic leg. She died in August last year at the age of 76 after making her complaint to the police.
Rebecca Austin, prosecuting, said Mr Langham borrowed Ms Barber’s credit card on September 25, 2010, to buy some paint when he was decorating her flat.
She said he did not return the card until three days later and used it to pay £55 to a Somerset-based debt collection agency.
Ms Barber complained to the police after finding a missing bank statement between two magazines in July 2011.
Mr Langham told the court Ms Barber offered to use her credit card to pay off his debt. He added she had some problems with her memory.
He said: “I did not use her card to pay off that debt without her permission. I did not steal it to use it for my own gain.”
Although Mr Langham was cleared of the charge, the court heard he lost his job as a minibus driver with Dial-A-Ride, based in Sherborne St John, because the charity found out he had accepted a £1,000 loan from Ms Barber, an offer she made before the fraud was alleged to have taken place.