‘So heartless’: Elderly cancer sufferer's ire at fraudster
AN ELDERLY cancer sufferer whose stolen bank card was used to buy almost $700 in online gambling vouchers during a three-month crime spree says he is devastated the offender will be out of jail next month.
Pensioner Merv Dunn, 72, who was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer three years ago, had the card stolen from his Cairns North home in August by an unknown assailant in a burglary which left him concerned for his safety.
In a heartbreaking victim impact statement which he read to the Cairns Magistrates Court today, he said he couldn't believe someone could be "so heartless".
"For the last three years I've battled so hard to live to the best of my ability," he said.
"It felt like no one cared.
"I feel like this person tried to wreck my life and almost succeeded."
The offender, Jake Aaron Barnes, 35, pleaded guilty to 29 charges including seven counts of fraud in relation to the use of Mr Dunn's card.
He also stole two pairs of glasses from an optometrist valued at $834, and committed various other property and dishonesty offences.
He committed some of the offences while on bail and Magistrate Joe Pinder said it appeared the only thing that halted his offending was his remanding in custody.
He handed him a 12-month jail sentence with parole release on December 19.
Speaking outside court Mr Dunn said it was not enough.
"I'm astounded to think that a person with 29 charges will be out before Christmas," he said.
Defence solicitor Carly Forsyth said her client was a gambling addict who used Mr Dunn's card to buy the online vouchers.
She said Barnes, who has a criminal history in three states including Queensland, was a qualified diesel mechanic who usually worked as a FIFO mine worker, but struggled when he was not working.
"He just gets into trouble," she said.
She said her client had never served jail time before, was remorseful and willing to pay back both the optometrist and the bank which compensated Mr Dunn.