Children who duped 77-year-old woman: A bogus caller has made one elderly woman distrustful, writes Nick Walker

WINIFRED is 77. She has lived alone in her terrace house in east London for the last six years, since her husband died.

Last February she was the victim of a bogus caller, or 'burglary artifice' as it is known to the police.

There are four bolts and two double locks on Winifred's (not her real name) front door. She has been too frightened and ashamed to tell her family and neighbours of her ordeal.

'The front doorbell rang, and there was a young boy who looked about 12, just a bit younger than my grandson, standing there. He said his kitten had gone into my back garden.'

She shut the front door and searched her back garden. Finding nothing, she returned and told the boy.

'I shut the door again, but he just kept ringing and ringing. In the end he was in tears, saying his kitten would die if he didn't find it.

'I let him in. By that time it was getting dark, and we spent about half an hour in the garden with a torch.

'Suddenly, he disappeared and when I got into the house, everything had gone. I went beserk. I was petrified he might be in my house. I called the police.'

According to Con Eric Woodhouse, who deals with many such crimes, bogus callers often work in twos, one diverting the victim's attention while the other ransacks the home. These thieves stole pounds 200 and pounds 1,200 worth of jewellery.

Two boys, one 13 and one 14, were arrested and charged. The 13-year-old was ordered to pay pounds 100 compensation and spend 24 hours in an attendance centre; the case against the 14- year-old was dropped.

'I saw him grinning and laughing with his friends as he left the court,' Winifred said. 'Children you think you can trust, but when it comes to what I have experienced you don't know who you can trust.

'I still jump every time the bell rings. I peek through the curtains to see who it is. You feel like a prisoner in your own home.'

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - Nottingham

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NOTTINGHAM - A rare high quality opportunity ...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Progressive practice, punching ...

Recruitment Genius: Ruby On Rails Developer

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This an exciting opportunity to...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible