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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Lyell Tweed

Mum who brought misery to her victims spared jail as her daughter, 2, is 'severely ill with Strep A'

A mum who defrauded a severely ill man out of thousands while acting as his carer after conning her former teacher has been spared jail as her daughter is thought to be seriously ill with Strep A.

Myriam Midi, now 23, was only a teenager when she took £34,000 from a former primary school teacher and his wife, saying she would use it to pay for university in Bristol, before she tried to use the money to buy a house in Wigan.

Just months after she took more than £16,000, and unsuccessfully tried to get £6,000 more, from a man with severe motor neurone disease (MND), telling him she was in love with him and needed to pay for family members' funerals and for treatment for a brain tumour, none of which was true. It was only when an employee of the man raised suspicions of the fraud that he contacted police, with investigations revealing the previous fraud against the couple.

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Prosecuting, Brian Berlyne, told Manchester Crown Court that in February 2018 Midi started working as a carer for the bed bound man who could only communicate through typing on a computer with one finger. Midi began telling him that she had been the victim of many 'misfortunes' in life and in April he offered her £1,000 and said in an email that he loved her.

Later that month Midi sent him an email saying her sister had killed herself which gained his sympathy and she asked him to send her £2,000 to pay for the funeral, despite this being a lie. She then asked for £3,400 to as a 'legacy debt' of her father's funeral, which was also a lie. In May of that year she said she needed an operation which needed to be paid for, which was untrue. The man replied saying that he loved her and Midi replied saying she loved him. He later told police he thought Midi was his girlfriend and he "wanted to put right" the deprived childhood she had.

Midi then asked him for more than £3,000 to pay Home Office fees so she could get British citizenship, but these had been paid months earlier. The same month he sent her £5,000 for bogus medical fees plus another £2,100 as she told him she thought she "was going to die", despite never being in hospital, the court heard.

He begun asking her for hospital invoices but she would be purposefully vague and did not send anything before on June 16 asking for another £6,400 to treat a brain tumour she did not have.

Myriam Midi, 23, outside Manchester Crown Court (STEVE ALLEN)

On this day an employee of his raised concerns which led to him phoning Manchester Royal Infirmary and Wythenshawe Hospital asking for her. They had no record of her as her claims of being very ill in the hospital very ill were a lie.

He stopped contacting her as he thought he was being deceived and contacted the police. On July 7, the victim contacted Midi telling her how much she owed him and she went to his house, where she was asked to leave by police. Overall she successfully conned him out of £16,300.

It was during the investigations around this fraud that another fraud committed months earlier was discovered. A man, referred to in court as Mr B, had taught at the primary school Midi attended and he and his wife, Ms A, had kept in contact with her and formed a friendship since. Midi told them she had been offered a place to study at Bristol University but could not afford the fees.

In November 2017 Ms A sent Midi £34,000 to pay for the course, Mr Berlyne said. Midi kept in regular contact with them, making up stories about her life in Bristol and her course. However, they later found out and had it confirmed by the university she had not been studying there, with police later discovering she had put the money towards buying a house in Wigan, also forging Ms A's signature to be a guarantor.

Manchester Crown Court (MEN Media)

Midi, of Pretoria Road, Oldham, was charged with six counts of fraud and pleaded guilty to all of them.

Judge John Potter, sentencing Midi, described her as a "persistent liar willing to exploit others for your own selfish and greedy needs". At the start of the hearing Midi's defence lawyer, Max Saffman, told the court that she was the sole carer for her two-year-old child who is currently very ill with what is thought to be Strep A. Midi had spent last week in hospital with her child, he said, and had taken her out of hospital last night against medical advice in preparation for the hearing. Judge Potter told her she was "wholly irresponsible" for having done this and would only be avoiding jail as her situation was "wholly exceptional" due mainly to her severely ill child.

"This is mean offending," he added. "You exploited somebody who was very vulnerable and somebody who believed they had a close relationship with you in your childhood. This sort of offending in almost every case would result in you losing your liberty." Judge Potter said there were "wholly exceptional characteristics" in this case that "just about justify" Midi not being sent to custody.

Both victims of Midi's fraud were said to have felt "exploited" in victim impact statements read by Judge Potter and both said that she exploited the relationships she had with them. The exceptional circumstances listed by Judge Potter included how Midi had been a victim of exploitation when she was younger, but he said this was "no excuse for your behaviour to others".

A psychological report done in the lead up to this sentencing also found Midi to be suffering with complex PTSD and other mental health problems which could go some way to explaining her offending, the court heard. However, her "exceptional mitigation" arose from being the mother of the two-year-old. The judge blasted her for inferring if she was spared jail she would take her daughter back to hospital "as though you're holding this court in some way to your wishes and the child's wishes".

Judge Potter sentenced Midi to two years in custody for the fraud offences, suspended for two years.

"I will remember this hearing and sentence because I reserve all breaches to me," Judge Potter concluded. "I'm sure you'll remember what I have said to you and how I haven't sent you to custody. (If you breach the sentence) I will send you to custody and you won't be able to rely on your child again."

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