Fraudster’s bid to alter pensioner’s will

A MAN of 24 befriended a pensioner and tried to get him to change his will and leave him a £450,000 house, a court heard.

Simon Kopp pleaded guilty to fraud when he appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Thursday.

Kopp, of Long John in Hemel Hempstead, befriended 87-year-old Kenneth Howkins and on March 15 this year contacted a solicitor in an attempt to get him to leave his home in Antoine Gate, St Albans, to him.

The court heard that he got to know Mr Howkins in August last year when Kopp had been employed by travellers to carry out work in the front garden at the elderly man’s home.

Kopp was not involved when Mr Howkins had been taken to a bank and withdrew £2,500 for the men.

His barrister Will Noble told the court: “The defendant says they were genuine friends but he accepted he stupidly did this.

“He accepts custody will be at the forefront of the court’s mind.”

Judge Martin Griffith adjourned sentence for probation reports until the New Year when the case will be opened in detail.

He granted Kopp bail but warned him prison was likely.

“You had a zero chance of success but this offence is very serious,” the judge said.

“The guidelines suggest an inevitable custodial sentence.”