A CALLOUS conman exploited his mother’s brutal killing to fleece friends out of their life savings, Sun Online can reveal.
Fraudster Marios Demetriou, 50, was jailed for six years for the cruel con using the fatal stabbing of his 79-year-old mum Eleftheria by a schizophrenic neighbour.
Demetriou pretended he was suing an NHS trust and police for failings in the care of his mum’s mentally ill killer – and raised £1.4 million through pals for the bogus civil litigation.
The married dad-of-four gave up his job as a SERCO custody officer as he and his family lived off funds raised for the non-existent legal action over his mum’s 2012 fatal stabbing.
They moved into a listed £3,500-a-month Hertfordshire property, took fancy holidays and bought flash cars and designer goods.
Demetriou’s mother was stabbed 40 times at her home in Wood Green, North London, by neighbour Hakim Abdillahi, who thought she was the anti-Christ.
Somali-born Abdillahi, then 38, had been released from the care of a local psychiatric hospital three weeks earlier but stopped taking his medication.
He was suffering paranoid delusions shortly before killing Eleftheria and called police the day before saying he wanted to kill demons.
LIVING THE HIGH LIFE
Victim’s son Demetriou wept at the Old Bailey as Abdillahi was sent to a secure hospital in June 2013 after pleading to manslaughter.
In a statement, he said afterwards: “My heart is broken, my life will never be the same again. I miss my mother so much.”
Demetriou gave media interviews vowing to sue health authorities, saying they had his mother’s “blood on their hands.”
But The Sun can reveal today how Demetriou then callously used his mother’s killing to rip off pals who believed their money was going towards a bid to sue authorities.
He stole almost £840,000 raised by a 72-year-old friend, Elizabeth Phillips, whose disabled son Gregg went to Arsenal football matches with Demetriou.
When Gregg died in August last year, broke Mrs Phillips did not have enough money to give him the funeral she wanted for him, Wood Green crown court heard.
‘NONE OF IT WAS TRUE’
She lost more than £200,000 of her own life savings and the rest was raised by her from friends.
As well as the bogus civil litigation, Demetriou falsely told the businessman’s widow he needed money for an urgent medical operation abroad.
He also stole another £600,000 from friends and relatives as part of the fraud.
James Norman, prosecuting, said Mrs Phillips, a retired lady in her seventies, lived in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire with disabled son Gregg
Mr Norman went: “It was through Gregg that she met Marios Demetriou, who began taking Gregg to watch football matches in around 2010.
“Between 2012 and 2017 Marios Demetriou defrauded Mrs Phillips by pretending that he was taking legal action against the police and the NHS for failing to prevent his mother’s death.
“Marios Demetriou told dozens of detailed lies to Mrs Phillips in order to convince her that he needed very large sums of money in order to fund this legal action.
“He told her that the case would ultimately result in a large compensation award which would enable him to repay what he had ‘borrowed.’
‘’Later, Marios Demetriou told Mrs Phillips that he was seriously ill and needed money for medical treatment abroad.
“He told her that if he died the legal action would die with him, meaning that there would be no compensation and no repayment.
“Again, none of this was true.’’
I feel wretched that I was so gullible, that I was taken in
Elizabeth Phillips, who raised £840K
The prosecutor added: “Marios Demetriou told Mrs Phillips that the legal proceedings were subject to a ‘gagging order’, meaning that she must not tell anyone about them.
“He told her that breaching this order would bring the case to an end, and with it the prospect of any compensation out of which he could repay her.
“Everything Marios Demetriou told Mrs Phillips was a lie. There was no legal action, there was no ‘gagging order’, and there was no illness.
‘‘Ms Phillips was so completely deceived by Marios Demetriou that she obtained money from her friends and family to fund his case.”
Mrs Phillips said in a victim impact statement : “The actions of this man and his family have changed me mentally inside.
“I feel wretched that I was so gullible, that I was taken in.”
The conman also organised a football competition to ‘raise funds’ with a trophy in his mother’s name presented to the winners.
Many of the other victims were kind-hearted Arsenal fans who stumped up thousands of pounds with the promise of the money being returned after the ‘court case.’
Using your own mother’s death to steal from your friends is as low as you can get
One of Demetriou's victims
One victim told The Sun: “We were told we would get our money back after he had sued the health authority and police.
“But Demetriou was living it up on our money while pretending it was going to be used to win justice over his mum’s death. The reality was that there was no court case.
“It was all a big con and people have lost their life savings. Using your own mother’s death to steal from your friends is as low as you can get.’’
Demetriou admitted fraud by making false representations to swindle Mrs Phillips out of £839,018, between January 2012 and January 2018,
A court heard Demetriou transferred £400,000 into bank accounts held by his wife Teresa Demetriou, 54, and sons John Demetriou, 33, and Louie Demetriou, 23.
Teresa, John and Louie were all cleared of money laundering by a jury after saying they had never questioned the source of Demetriou’s cash and assumed he won it from gambling.
Jailing Demetriou, Judge David Aaronberg, QC, told him: ‘’As Ms Phillips set out in her moving statement setting out the depths of your deceit, this fraud has totally shattered her life.
“She went from being comfortable to having no money at all.
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“When her own disabled son Greg died suddenly in Autumn 2018, she was left unable to give him the funeral she thought he deserved.
“Your selfish greed has caused utter devastation and wrecked the lives that those who had been defrauded.
“This is a case involving the targeting of a vulnerable lady who trusted you and whose trust was wholly misled through the sophisticated fraud you ran.”
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