A criminal couple who went on the run after stealing £16,000 from a vulnerable and ‘frail’ man have been jailed.

Emma Durkin, 31, was hired to do shopping, cleaning and pay rent for the victim, in Coundon, County Durham, a housebound man who required help after being discharged from hospital.

Durkin along with Adam Waugh, her 40-year-old partner, provided assistance to the victim after he fell and suffered mobility impairments.

Coundon’s Collingwood Street neighbors quickly started using the victim’s bank card for their transactions, including withdrawing money and booking hotel rooms. 

Durkin even went to the bank to withdraw hundreds of pounds with the victim, telling him that it was to pay rent and then she spent it all on herself.

Bank staff became suspicious when they noticed £10,000 had been withdrawn over just a few months and notified the victim who confirmed the fraud. 

Emma Durkin, 31, pictured, was hired to do shopping, cleaning and pay rent for the housebound victim, in Coundon, County Durham, but instead she and her partner withdrew cash using his Halifax and NatWest cards for their own benefit

Emma Durkin, 31 years old, is pictured cleaning, shopping and paying rent in Coundon County Durham for the housebound victim. But instead, her partner and she used his Halifax or NatWest cards to draw cash and use it for their own advantage

The couple originally denied conspiring to commit fraud through false representation between January 1, 2020 and April 28, 2020. They appeared before the court in March.

Durkin also denied a second charge of theft of £100.

On the day of August’s fraud trial, however, she changed her plea to guilty.

Waugh (40) denied the accusations but was convicted in absentia by a jury.

They were on the loose for 4 months from August to December. However, after receiving information from the public they were tracked down and arrested.

Prosecutor Ian West said Adam Waugh, 40, pictured, rang police to taunt them by saying he would hand himself in while he and Durkin were on the run - but never did

Ian West, the Prosecutor of Adam Waugh, 40, stated that Adam Waugh called police to taunt them, saying he would surrender while Durkin and Durkin were running – but never did

Ian West, the prosecutor of Waugh said that Waugh called police to make fun of them and claimed he’d hand himself in. However, he didn’t do so. 

Durkin was sentenced for a total term of 37 months prison. She also received an extra four-weeks imprisonment because she violated her bail condition.

Waugh was sentenced to a 42 month term with an additional six-weeks for breaching his bail conditions.

According to Mr West, Durkin was introduced by the landlord of the victim.

Waugh knew also the victim, having done handyman work before.   

Mr West said the pair went on a ‘spending spree’ over the period of four months, clocking up just over £16,000 on the victim’s card Halifax and NatWest bank cards, leaving him ‘destitute’.

Although the judge found little to no evidence, he said that the couple had made a lot of money. 

Durkin and Waugh booked a room at Greenbank Hotel Darlington in County Durham using the victim’s name and card. 

However, while they were gone, the staff of the Greenbank Hotel discovered that the room was ‘full’ with drug paraphernalia. 

Durkin had been convicted twice before for two offences. These include shoplifting, fraud and theft in 2011.

Waugh has been convicted for 44 of 86 crimes.

Mark Styles, the defendant in Durkin’s case, stated to court that Durkin was a vulnerable individual who suffered from a severe heroin addiction.

The pair went on the run for four months, from August until December, but after information from the public, were traced, arrested and put before Durham Crown Court (pictured) on Wednesday

 The pair went on the run for four months, from August until December, but after information from the public, were traced, arrested and put before Durham Crown Court (pictured) on Wednesday

Jamie Adams, who was representing Waugh in court said that Waugh is trying to “say sorry” for his actions and that he had a heroin addiction when he defrauded the victim.

James Adkin sentenced the pair. Adkin stated that they exploited victim trust and vulnerability in order to help fund drug addiction. 

Durkin and Waugh took the money from the victim, who died in May. However, the bank repaid the funds.

Durkin was held for 37 months with four additional weeks for being at large.

Waugh was sentenced to 42 months in prison, plus six additional weeks for being at large.