A cabbie from Burton has been jailed for 14 months for stealing £13,000 from a vulnerable passenger who would regularly take journeys with him. Shakeel Abbas, 37, picked up his victim from hospital and dropped him off at his Uttoxeter home. The man was admitted to hospital after he had taken an overdose. Abbas would then become his victims regularly driver. During one trip the vulnerable man told Abbas that both his parents had died and left him a lot of money. After gaining his trust, Abbas would spend the next three months persuading his victim to borrow him various amounts of money totalling a staggering £13,000. The victim suffered from depression along with a number of other mental health difficulties after he lost both his parents. Prosecutor Nigel Stelling said:
"The defendant was the driver. It seems the man continued to use the defendant for his journeys thereafter.
"At one point, possibly on the first journey, he divulged his parents had died and he had inherited a substantial amount of money. The defendant took advantage of the situation and asked the man to lend him various amounts of money." Social services highlighted their concerns for the victim when he told them that he could not afford a cleaner. Abbas is said to of been suffering from a gambling addiction and lost the money in a casino. Stephen Hennessey, mitigating, said that Abbas is now registered on a national database and has signed documentation which subjects him to a lifetime ban in all casinos and gambling establishments in the U.K. Hennessey pressed for Abbas to be given a suspended sentence but Judge David Fletcher said that he must be met with an immediate jail sentence. Speaking directly to Abbas, Judge Fletcher said:
"This was a deeply unattractive offence of theft because it appears you deliberately utilised your status as a taxi driver and involved yourself with someone who was vulnerable.
"Over the period of about three months, in the knowledge he had lost his parents and been left their life savings, you systematically divested him of all that money. Not a brass farthing has been paid back to him. "There is no doubt this was targeting of a victim. You abused your position as a taxi driver appallingly."
Abbas pleaded guilty to theft, reported the Derbyshire Live.