Men jailed for stealing jewellery from elderly Fishponds woman

James Brunyee from Brislington

James Brunyee from Brislington

Two conmen from Brislington and Knowle, who stole jewellery from an elderly Fishponds woman to fund their drug habits, have been jailed.

The victim, a 64-year-old, is a full-time carer to her husband, who suffers from dementia, and was building up a collection of jewellery to fund his future care needs.

At Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday, 33-year-old James Brunyee, of Hither Bath Bridge, Brislington, was sentenced to 27 months after admitting two counts of burglary and two counts of fraud. Daniel Bennett, 32, of Exmouth Road, Knowle, was given a 44-month jail sentence after admitting three counts of burglary and two counts of fraud.

The court heard that last June the victim hired a local firm to carry out electrical work at her home in Fishponds, with Bennett being employed to carry out this contract.

During the work, Bennett helped the victim move the contents of her safe, including her jewellery collection, to another room in the house.

He was dismissed by the firm for the poor quality of his work but continued to visit the victim, bringing his friend Brunyee with him.

Investigating officer PC Nina Blakesley said: “Bennett had already won the victim’s trust and pretended to visit her out of concern, but his real objective was to steal her collection of valuable jewellery. He enlisted the help of Brunyee and the pair helped themselves to the victim’s property to fund their drug habits, selling the jewellery in pawn shops in the south Bristol area.

“No doubt they would have continued to visit and steal from this vulnerable victim if they had not been caught. Their actions are quite simply despicable and as a result of her ordeal, the victim has lost trust in people and has struggled to come to terms with her loss. The sad fact is most of the jewellery has not been recovered.

“The targeting of vulnerable and elderly people by tricksters, con artists and fraudsters is indefensible and I hope the fact these two offenders have been caught and sent to prison demonstrates our desire to stop these crimes from happening.”