Published: 10:42, 16 June 2021
| Updated: 16:03, 16 June 2021
A crooked roofer - who claims he has "found God" - has been sent to prison for preying on a vulnerable pensioner.
Abey Smith ripped off the trusting 70 year-old from Teynham - pocketing about £100,000 for repair work worth less than £3,000.
Now the victim has now been left "in straightened circumstances" with no money for holidays, or to replace his car and he can't afford dental treatment, Maidstone Crown Court was told during Smith's sentencing.
Smith, 50, from Longbury Drive, Orpington clutched a Bible during his trial which had been held at the new Nightingale Court Mercure Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone.
He pleaded not guilty - but didn't give evidence on oath - and the jury convicted him of fraud.
Now Smith has been jailed for four years and six months - and is facing a financial probe under the Proceeds Of Crime Act to see if any of the money can been retrieved.
But Judge David Griffith-Jones QC told him: "You have shown no remorse whatsoever. This was cynical, heartless and calculated offending from April 2016 until March the following year."
Prosecutor Ian Foinette told the jury that the victim estimated he had been duped out of £122,000 - Smith claimed only £20,000 had been handed over.
The judge said he rejected Smith's claim and said he believed the victim was out of pocket by at least £100,000.
He revealed how the fraud began in 2016 when Smith - who has previous convictions - offered to do some repair work on the victim's home.
David Lyons, defending, said: "He had a genuine religious conversion and is now a religious man."
He handed the judge a letter from a church pastor who claimed to be impressed "with the efforts to help others".
The judge said Smith had been convicted by the jury on overwhelming evidence he had got a "foothold" after winning the confidence of the victim by offering to clean the gutters.
"You then conscientiously then worked him over, reeling him in bit by bit before lying to him saying he needed a new roof.
"He proved gullible but you then cynically and cruelly exploited that vulnerability and then set out to take him for as much money as you could.
"After nearly a year his bank stepped in and the police were called and you were arrested, " he added.
The work Smith had done was to a sub-standard and even if it had been done to a satisfactory standard, would have cost £3,000, the judge said
The prosecution said the cost of the investigation into the fraud has cost £1,450.