‘Good Samaritan’ at crash scene became a thief

A GOOD Samaritan turned thief after racking up drug debts, a court heard.

John Midgeley, 26, of Raglan Court, Halifax, stole Margaret Tichonow’s purse after posing as a kind-hearted witness to a car accident she was involved in.

Calderdale magistrates heard how Midgeley saw the accident in Pellon Lane, Halifax, on September 21.

Mrs Tichonow was speaking to the driver of the other vehicle when Midgeley approached and offered to take photographs of the damage to her car.

She accepted and the pair arranged to meet later to download the pictures to her mobile phone.

But Midgeley took her purse from her handbag, which was lying on the car seat, and tried to withdraw money from machines across Halifax.

His only successful attempt was from her credit card as the pin number was wrapped around the card.

He managed to take £500 from her account from a cash machine at Asda, Thrum Hall, Halifax.

There were further attempts to withdraw money from other accounts in town-centre banks.

Midgeley said he had stolen the money to pay off a £450 debt he racked up through amphetamine dependance.

Midgeley admitted theft, four counts of false representation and five of attempted fraud.

Paul Manning, mitigating, said Midgeley was scared of the repercussions if he did not pay back his debt.

“He was aware if the debt was not paid off fully soon it would be recovered in a fairly draconian way,” said Mr Manning.

Midgeley also admitted an earlier offence of taking a car without consent, making off with £47.88 of petrol without paying and driving without insurance or licence.

On September 15 he had stopped at a used- car forecourt when the owner offered to show him inside a Ford Focus.

As he looked inside the office phone rang and the owner went inside to answer it.

Midgeley seized the opportunity and drove the car off.

He soon realised the car needed petrol and stopped at a filling station, topping up but driving away without paying.

The car was later found by police in a car park near his home.

Midgeley will appear at court again on October 24.