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Woman who scammed £225k from friends is pitied by those whose money she stole

Victims’ compassion for con woman pal

By Claire Tennyson

ONE of the victims of con woman, Kathryne Adair, has spoken of her disappointment that the fraudster did not apologise to the former friends from whom she scammed almost a quarter of a million pounds.

Liz McFarland, from Cairnshill Gardens, said she although she “felt sorry” for Four Winds woman Adair when she was handed an 18 month jail term last Friday it was the only way she was “going to be stopped”.

It was revealed in Downpatrick Crown Court on Friday that Adair stole an overall amount of £225,190 of which £63,203 had been repaid.

On sentencing the 46 year old, Judge Smyth QC said she had taken advantage of human kindness, exploited decency and betrayed the confidence placed in her.

Liz McFarland, whose husband was seriously ill when she was approached by Adair for money, said despite being betrayed by her former friend it was hard to see her going through the courts.

“It was difficult to see this happening to her because I have known her for such a long time but I suppose it is comforting that she will not be doing it again.

“When the judge passed the sentence Kathryne appeared shocked but she didn’t say anything.

“That was her opportunity to apologise to all of those who were in the court and all the people she stole money from.”

In response to Adair’s story that she in fact was part of a blackmail ploy the judge concluded: “You have given evidence which I reject. I accept that a fraudster, whom I call Mr A, existed. I accept that he was the architect of this deception and was also the beneficiary in large part of these sums of money. You were however a willing accomplice.”

He continued: “It was not Mr A who convinced the victims that you urgently needed short term loans, that there was fraud at the bank, that there was an inheritance, or that there was an off-shore account.

“Even if these ideas were designed by someone else, you were the point of contact and these were entirely fictitious stories made up to defraud.”

Judge Smyth added: “You knew exactly what you were doing. You entered into this with enthusiasm and contributed the knowledge that only you had of your friends and neighbours.

“I however do accept that, as time went on, you may have become increasingly desperate. You realised that this investigation would be brought, that your friends and neighbours would realise their faith in you had been sadly abused and that you would pay the penalty.

“Despite that you continued.”

Another victim of the former shop worker also said he has “no bitterness” towards Adair who stole almost £7,000 from him.

The Newtownbreda businessman, who did not wish to be named, said he was a “lifelong” friend of the dog-breeder, who duped more than 17 friends. The man explained how he initially set out to help 46-year-old Adair after becoming concerned about her financial claims, only to realise she was lying as her story crumbled under scrutiny.

“I have known the woman all my life, almost from the day she was born,” he said. “I had no reason not to trust her when she came to me for help.”

He explained how Adair came to him asking for a loan, having invented a story of how she needed money to pay “taxes” on a bank account in the Isle of Man, in order to free up another sum of cash. She took a total of £6,800 from him, promising to pay it back.

“Kathryne told me it was inheritance money at first that she was trying to secure,” the victim continued.

“I would visit her once or twice a week after to see what was happening with it, but after a while I began to realise that she might be lying. The penny dropped when Adair’s story began to change, and she claimed that rather than the Isle of Man, she had actually needed the money for a financial problem in Castlewellen.

“I then had serious reservations, and sadly knew that she wasn’t being truthful with me. I was shocked when all the details of what she had done came out. She has done something very wrong, and has told a lot of lies that fooled me and a lot of people like me.

“I feel sorry for the other victims who were more financially hurt by this than I was.”

Yet, the forgiving businessman said he would still speak to Adair following her sentencing last week, adding: “I’m not bitter at all about this, and will still say hello if I see her about.”

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