THE mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan had part of his life insurance swindled from her by a conman.
Lee Mackie, 58, from Bampton, spoke out after Gary Sheehy pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation at Oxford Crown Court on Monday.
Sheehy, boyfriend of Mrs Mackie’s neighbour at the time, convinced her to invest more than £4,000 in a bogus business.
Mrs Mackie said: “He’s a cad – someone without morals who took advantage of my good nature when I was incredibly vulnerable after the loss of my son.
“He is totally self-absorbed and his own agenda is the only thing he cares about.
“This man wasn’t a stranger and knew what the situation was, yet he was still quite comfortable to defraud me.”
Ms Mackie’s 21-year-old son Jason, of 3rd Armoured Support Group Royal Marines, died when his vehicle struck an explosive device in 2009.
Sheehy, 50, of Chetwynd Mead, Bampton, was in a relationship with Ms Mackie’s neighbour and helped her with jobs around the house and car maintenance after Jason’s death.
He told her he was starting business ventures in selling used cars and camping equipment, and asked her for investment sums of £3,500 and £850 between June 9 and November 20, 2011. Police say he had no intention of starting the business.
Ms Mackie, who lives on her own and has two other sons, used part of the life insurance she received after Jason’s death to pay Sheehy.
She gradually grew suspicious when he did not pay her back after about 18 months and wouldn’t answer her calls. She eventually contacted the police.
Ms Mackie said: “I thought I knew him but obviously not as well as I thought I did.
“He was able to talk himself into my life by helping out with the jobs my son used to do. In hindsight, he was just buttering me up really. When I suddenly woke up and realised what had gone on I thought I had been taken for a total fool. It makes me very angry someone could do this and it’s the reason I took him to court.”
Sheehy will be sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Monday, March 24.