‘He was a sweet talker’ - Homeless fraudster leaves family-run guest house business £1,000 out-of-pocket
- Credit: Lukie Gooda/Norfolk Constabulary
A homeless fraudster told elaborate stories about his personal life as he sweet-talked his way out of paying hotel bills before running off.
William Poindexter, 62, was jailed for nine months after admitting to staying at hotels and bed and breakfasts in Norwich and racking up £8,000 in unpaid bills between September and December last year. At his sentencing on Wednesday, Norwich Crown Court heard his spate of frauds at hotels including the Holiday Inn and Best Western began soon after he was released from prison in August.
He stayed at a number of guest rooms in the Golden Triangle area which are owned and run by mother-of-four Lukie Gooda, 60, and her family.
Mrs Gooda said the fraudster would sweet-talk his way into delaying payment for his stays in St Philips Road and Earlham Road before he ran off and left the family nearly £1,000 out of pocket.
As the bookings were made online through a travel website, Mrs Gooda never physically saw Poindexter and only spoke to him over the phone.
"Every time I called he would always answer," she said. "We used to have lovely talks, he was such a sweet talker. "He would tell me his business was letting him down and that they will pay and to please give him more time.
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"He always had an answer for everything."
Mrs Gooda said he would go into detail about his job and his family life, which changed depending on who he spoke to.
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He told Mrs Gooda that he was a sales rep who travelled the country and that he was a family man who was responsible for his children.
But he told Mrs Gooda's daughter, Nina Gooda, 30, that he was the head engineer who had been sent to Norwich to work on a high-speed train of which nobody has heard of.
Miss Gooda said: "He was one of the most talkative guests we've ever had, I remember thinking at the time that didn't seem right. "It was just before Christmas so I thought I will do a nice thing for him, you want to be able to help people.
"But things like this cut you up a bit and it hardens you to other people who do need help."
The family have since changed their booking policy after the ordeal left them terrified of future scams.
But news of Poindexter being jailed has given them some hope in the judicial system. Mrs Gooda said: "We are a small business and we are vulnerable. But when justice is done it gives you more trust in the system."