A fundraising page has been set up to support a Worthing couple left ‘devastated and destitute’ by their granddaughter’s lies and fraud.
Asha Dawes, 22, of Nelson Road in Goring, lied about having cancer and faked bank statements so she could steal more than £130,000 from Shirley and John Pinder, who she had lived with since the age of ten.
Dawes, who pleaded guilty to defrauding family members out of £132,585.49, was sentenced to four years in prison at Hove Crown Court last Tuesday – read the original story here.
The court heard that Dawes encouraged Mr and Mrs Pinder to sell their home and move to Spain and then stole from them, leaving them ‘devastated and homeless and destitute’.
Dawes, who has a three-year-old son, stole so much that the couple were left ‘skeletal’ and stranded in Spain.
Mia Clark, a former schoolfriend of Dawes, came up with the idea to set up a fundraising page to help them begin their lives afresh.
The 22-year-old, who lives in Lancing, said: “I wasn’t able to go to the court for the hearing to support the grandparents but I wanted to show them some support.
“Quite a few people asked me to set one up so I thought it would be a nice idea.”
More than £300 has been raised for the couple so far.
Mia described Mr and Mrs Pinder as ‘an absolutely lovely couple’ and said she had ‘never met nicer people’.
She said: “I just hope it helps rebuild their lives really and gives them a bit of a head start.”
Jodie Pinter, who set up the just giving page on Mia’s behalf, wrote on the page: “Mia Clark one of Asha’s old friends though this was a great idea to help just make life a little easier and help them get back on their feet.
“John and Shirley are very proud people but were very touched by the idea so please if you can help in any way they would be so grateful, thank you very much.”
Mia said she and Asha became friends at school aged 15 when they both attended the Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing.
“We were all best friends and when she was 17 we were told she had cancer,” Mia said.
“Obviously she didn’t, it was a lie.
“I was friends with her throughout the whole year and I became friends with her grandparents because she lived with them.”
But Mia said she began to grow suspicious of Dawes’ stories.
“About a year before it all came out I wanted to take a step back,” she said.
“I started to not believe what she was saying, there were a few things that didn’t add up.”
However she said she was ‘shocked’ when the full details of Dawes’ crimes emerged.
She said: “I didn’t know the extent of it, how bad it was.
“I just couldn’t believe it.
“From such a young age to be told that, for it to all come out, it’s just a really horrible thing for us to go through.
“We had been told so much, we didn’t know what’s real or what’s fake after all that.”
News of Dawes’ deceit left residents in Worthing horrified and ‘lost for words’ – read more reaction to the story here.
Mia said: “I think everyone is angry,”
“It’s very local, everyone seemed shocked.
“Asha was quite well known and quite famous on social media sites.”
At court last Tuesday, a statement from Mrs Pinder, who raised Dawes with her husband, was read out.
She said: “I have been absolutely destroyed. I do not want to go out the front door.
“I loved Asha as a daughter and it is really hard to understand that for years she has manipulated us.
“I do not know how long she has treated us as something to just use and dispose of.”
“Asha told me she was going to die within months. I believed her.
“I fought for her. I protected her.
“She was our little angel but everything she was doing to help us was to make it easier to steal from us.”
Sentencing Dawes, judge Shani Barnes said she had rarely heard such ‘devastating’ victim impact statements and said Dawes’ actions were ‘irreparable’.