Distraction crooks steal £6k life savings of Upper Holloway pensioner

Mary Garvey, 70, had £6,400 cash stolen from her house. Picture: Vicky Munro

Mary Garvey, 70, had £6,400 cash stolen from her house. Picture: Vicky Munro - Credit: Archant

A fundraiser set up to help a disabled Upper Holloway pensioner who was conned out of her life savings has raised almost £1,000.

Mary Garvey, 70, had £6,400 cash stolen from her Kingsdown Road home on March 8 by two men claiming to be maintenance workers.

Her neighbour, Vanessa Moore, 48, launched an online campaign to replace some of her savings, intended for her funeral costs or vet bills for her cats, Snowy and Snowflake.

Ms Garvey told the Gazette this week: “I have been putting on a brave front as I always do but, of course, it bothers me because I have no security now.

“Still, I’m a survivor; if there’s a God, he clearly doesn’t want me in heaven just yet.”

One man distracted Ms Garvey, who cannot stand for long periods, in the kitchen by pretending to check her water pressure. Meanwhile, the other crook went through her belongings.

Ms Moore said: “At the time it was after the snow and we were having problems with the water in the area, so they must have known that and taken advantage.”

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The two men, both in their late 20s or early 30s and one of whom had an Irish accent, stole £6,000 from Ms Garvey’s locked safe box and £400 from her purse.

Ms Garvey said: “I obviously should have kept it at the bank but I remember when Greece went bankrupt and people were trying to get their money out but couldn’t. So after that I withdrew my money.”

Police were unable to find any leads but Ms Garvey had no complaints about their work.

She said: “They were lovely and that makes such a difference when you’re going through a traumatic time.”

After years of donating to charity herself, she is touched by the amount other people have gifted to her in her time of need.

“At first I felt embarrassed having someone asking for money for me because I’ve always been a giver rather than a taker, but it’s amazing and I’m grateful to everybody.

“It’s just nice to know that other people care.”