A Birmingham man who posed a solicitor and defrauded a retired nurse has been jailed for more than five years. Shahbaz Queshri, 30, made friends with the elderly woman and stole almost £236,955 over 18 months for what he claimed were court costs.

Investigators from West Midlands Police found Queshri gambled away all of the stolen money, spending up to £50,000 a day on betting websites. He pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court and this week was jailed this week for five years and four months.

The court heard that Queshri made friends with the victim after she made a bad investment and lost money trying to help her disabled son move into better accommodation to live independently.

The fraudster lied and said he worked for Birmingham-based solicitors, promising to take her case to the High Court to help her reclaim the lost funds.

He would send fake messages pretending to be from the head of his firm and suggested that bailiffs might be engaged to recover unpaid fees. Police said Queshri’s deception even extended to him wearing a fake Rolex watch.

He further appealed to the victim by saying he was undergoing cancer treatment for a brain tumour and that he was paying for his grandmother’s medical care in Pakistan after a car accident – none of which was true.

Police said the victim had to remortgage her house at the age of 78 and that her son died before the trial, so he never got to see the benefit of what his mother was trying to achieve.

Detective Sergeant Jason Fowler, who led the investigation.  ‘The ordeal Queshri put the woman and family through is truly sickening and despite the prison sentence, it will never be enough for the victim and her family. He has ruined her life and her old age where she should be relaxing and enjoying herself.’

In a statement released yesterday the woman’s family said: ‘The impact of this man’s actions on the whole family has been massive, she suffered two years of anxiety, sleepless nights and worry.

‘We almost had to sell her house to pay off the debts the fraud caused and we’ll never get back all of my grandmother’s jewellery he made her pawn.

‘Her son died in the midst of this case and she’s struggled to come to terms with it all. He is responsible for destroying her retirement as a long serving member of the NHS.’