A PENSIONER killed in a crossbow murder gave more than £200,000 to a “conman” who he believed was a friend, a court has heard.
Richard Wyn Lewis, 51, is accused of conning 74-year-old Gerald Corrigan and partner Marie Bailey out of the money, which he claimed was for land sales, property development and horses, between 2015 and 2019, when Mr Corrigan was fatally shot with a crossbow outside his home in a remote part of Anglesey.
Opening Lewis’s trial at Mold Crown Court on Tuesday (November 23), Peter Rouch KC told the jury: “That murder and the reasons for it have nothing whatsoever to do with this case or the issues in it.
“It explains why you won’t be hearing from Gerald Corrigan and it explains why police began speaking to Marie Bailey in April 2019.
“It was during those conversations police had with her that matters to which this case relate first came to light.”
The court heard Lewis was accused of conning a number of people out of money between 2015 and 2020.
Mr Rouch said: “Wyn Lewis is a con man. He is a fraudster.
“During the period spanned by this indictment he conned a number of different people out of varying sums of money, sometimes in the hundreds of pounds, sometimes in the thousands, many thousands.”
He said Mr Corrigan and Ms Bailey became involved with Lewis in 2015.
Mr Rouch said: “Both came to regard him as a good and trusted friend, not recognising the fraudster that he was.”
The court heard the first false representation made by Lewis to the couple concerned the “apparent potential development and apparent potential sale” of their home.
Mr Rouch said: “I say apparent because there was no such potential development and there was no such potential sale.
“It was a figment, a figment thought up by Wyn Lewis to get his hands on their cash.”
He said Lewis persuaded Mr Corrigan he could sell their home to a developer for more than £2 million, allowing him to buy somewhere more suitable for Ms Bailey, who had multiple sclerosis.
The court heard Lewis told Mr Corrigan he had a potential buyer and had enlisted the help of a retired planning officer.
He also advised Mr Corrigan to set up an off-shore bank account, which he said £120,000 was needed for, and to buy a piece of nearby land.
Money was paid to Lewis in cash, without receipts or documentation being provided, the jury heard.
Mr Rouch said: “The whole thing was a sham. It was a sham which cost Gerry Corrigan and Marie Bailey many thousands of pounds.”
The court heard Ms Bailey transferred £50,000 to the bank account of Lewis’s partner Siwan Maclean, believing it was for the purchase of an old schoolhouse in Llanddona, Anglesey, which could also be sold to a developer.
But, the jury was told, the building had been sold to the village hall committee four months before.
The couple also transferred money believing it was to buy horses, which Lewis told them were being stabled in Ireland, the court heard.
Ms Bailey paid Lewis to take her car away when he told her it needed to be scrapped, but he went on to sell it for £5,300, Mr Rouch said.
He told the court work by a financial analyst showed the amount given to Lewis by the couple totalled about £220,000.
Two days before he was shot, Mr Corrigan gave £200 to Lewis, because that was all he could afford, the court heard.
Mr Rouch said: “As he apparently said to Wyn Lewis at the time: ‘There is no more money.’”
Lewis, of Llanfair-yn-Neubwll, Holyhead, denies 11 counts of fraud and one count of intending to pervert the course of justice, and Maclean, 53, of the same address, denies entering into a money laundering arrangement.
The trial is expected to last four weeks.