Murdered Blackpool lecturer killed with crossbow was conned out of £220,000 before his death
A former Blackpool college lecturer who was murdered with a crossbow was conned out of more than £200,000 in the years leading up to his death, a court has heard.
Gerald Corrigan, a retired photography lecturer at Blackpool and the Fylde College, was fatally shot with a crossbow as he adjusted a satellite dish outside his home near South Stack Road in a remote part of Holyhead, Anglesey, at around 12.35am on April 19, 2019.
In February 2020, Terence Whall, 39, was convicted of the pensioner's murder. You can read our report on the murder trial here.
Nearly three years after his death, it has been revealed that Mr Corrigan and his partner, Marie Bailey, 67, had been conned out of more than £200,000 in the years leading up to his murder.
At Mold Crown Court on Monday (January 10), it was heard that the couple befriended Richard Wyn Lewis in 2015 and in the following four years paid out thousands of pounds which they believed was for property developments, land sales and horses.
Peter Rouch QC, prosecuting, said the reasons for Mr Corrigan’s murder, outside his home near South Stack in Anglesey, North Wales, in April 2019, had nothing to do with the trial.
He said the alleged fraud offences only came to light when Miss Bailey was interviewed by police after his death.
He said: "Wyn Lewis is a conman, he is a fraudster, and, during the period spanned by this indictment, he conned a number of different people out of serious amounts of money, sometimes hundreds of pounds and sometimes thousands, many thousands.
"Throughout this time people lost their money and Wyn Lewis dishonestly kept it."
He said Mr Corrigan and Miss Bailey met Lewis, 50, in 2015 and came to regard him as a “good and trusted friend”.
Lewis suggested to Mr Corrigan that he could make money by selling his home, Gof Du, for development and put him in contact with a potential buyer, John Halsall, and a man known as David who he said used to work in the planning department, the court heard.
Mr Corrigan spoke to the men over the phone, but police later found the numbers he used for them were registered to Lewis.
He handed over cash to Lewis for planning applications, the purchase of nearby land and to set up an offshore bank account, the court was told.
But Mr Rouch said no planning applications were made and no land was bought.
He said: “The whole thing was a sham, a complete con, which cost Gerry Corrigan and Marie Bailey many thousands of pounds.”
The couple also paid thousands of pounds to Lewis for horses which he claimed to have bought for them, the court heard.
The court was told that Miss Bailey, who has multiple sclerosis, transferred £50,000 to the account of Lewis’s partner, Siwan Maclean, which she believed was to buy a former school in Llanddona, Anglesey, that she could sell on to a developer.
But, Mr Rouch said, the building had already been bought by the local village hall committee four months before she transferred the money.
He said Lewis was paid by Miss Bailey to take away her car after telling her it needed to be scrapped, but went on to sell it for £5,300.
Miss Bailey estimated they had given at least £200,000 to Lewis, the jury heard.
Mr Rouch said: "She said by the end she and Mr Corrigan were virtually cleaned out of all available cash.
"About two days before Mr Corrigan was shot with a crossbow, Mr Corrigan gave Wyn Lewis £200 in cash which was all he could afford.
"He apparently told Wyn Lewis at the time ‘there is no more money’."
Analysis of the couple’s bank accounts showed extra withdrawals of £170,000 from the time they met Lewis, which added to the £50,000 bank transfer by Miss Bailey would make a total of £220,000, Mr Rouch said.
Lewis, of Llanfair-yn-Neubwll, Holyhead, denies 11 counts of fraud and one count of intending to pervert the course of justice.
His partner, Maclean, 52, denies entering into a money laundering arrangement.