TOP judges have upheld the convictions of a Huddersfield man who posed as a policeman to twice con his way into a stroke victim's home.
Steven Parkinson, 39, of Alder Street, Fartown, preten- ded he had been secretly filming a woman arriving at the house to offer the victim sex for cash.
He persuaded his quarry to let him inside before burgling him, said Lord Justice Thomas.
The judge, who was sitting at London's Court of Appeal with Mr Justice Royce and Judge Findlay Baker QC, said Parkinson then conned the victim into letting him search the house.
He used the ploy in an August 2001 burglary to steal £491 - telling the victim he had to take the cash as "police evidence".
Parkinson was found guilty by a jury of two counts of burglary and was jailed for four years by a judge at Leeds Crown Court on March 28 last year.
He challenged his convictions on the main ground that the trial judge was wrong to excuse the victim, in his 50s, from giving evidence in person because of his failing health.
Lord Justice Thomas said that, by the time the case came to court, the victim had suffered two further strokes, was blind in one eye, had high blood pressure and diabetes.
He added it was because of this that the trial judge ruled a statement could be taken from him and read out to the jury.
Parkinson's lawyers argued this put him at a disadvantage.
They also said that the loss of a piece of paper Parkinson handled when he returned to his victim's home two days after the first visit was vital to his defence.
Lord Justice Thomas said forensic tests on it revealed Parkinson's fingerprint. It was photographed and logged, but subsequently destroyed in error when the case against an alleged accomplice was dropped.
The judge rejected that ground of appeal and ruled the victim's written statement was relevant and the jury had rightly been allowed to hear it.
Lord Justice Thomas also dismissed claims that, even if the victim was too sick to take part in a live identity parade, a video recording should have been used.