Sarah Moore jailed for Levi Brailsford headstone collection con
A YOUNG woman who used the tragic death of a toddler to con people into giving her money has been jailed for more than two years.
Sarah Moore, 23, preyed on people in the street and at their homes in several areas of Bristol, including Redland and Withywood, after the death of Levi Brailsford, two.
The toddler fell out of his grandmother's moving car onto Stockwood Lane and died from head injuries on May 11.
Clutching a newspaper article of the tragedy, Moore – herself a mum of children aged two and five – said she was collecting on behalf of the family for money towards a gravestone.
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Yesterday, at Bristol Crown Court Moore, of Silcox Road, Hartcliffe, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation in which she duped 16 people out of £34 total in cash.
She chose to enter her guilty pleas and immediately leave the courtroom because she could not face hearing again what she had done.
A moving statement from Levi's father Kevin Brailsford was read in court by prosecutor Peter Coombe.
Mr Brailsford spoke of his "anger" at hearing just a few days before Levi's funeral that a female was going door to door collecting on his behalf.
"I knew she was collecting money for herself of the back of this tragic incident," Mr Brailsford said.
"I didn't think it was possible for someone to sink so low.
"She is a con artist who preyed on people's good nature.
"Even at the funeral my mind kept wandering to this female who was collecting money in my boy's memory while I was burying him."
Mr Coombe told the court that Moore would prey on people, often pensioners, in their homes and in the street asking for donations.
After arrest she told police she was doing it genuinely for a friend because she had wanted to "give something back".
Despite dying her hair before a police ID parade she was picked out by several of her victims.
The court heard whilst on bail for the fraud offences she acted as a "honey trap" on Fishponds Road where she lured "punters" to an area where they were robbed by two men.
She pleaded guilty to one count of robbery on August 20.
Mr Coombe said her victim had been befriended at 11.30pm and then approached by two men who ordered him to the floor threatening they would kill him before taking his wallet and mobile phone.
The man later saw the defendant with the men and phoned police.
After her arrest she was found to have cash in sterling and euros belonging to the victim in her bra.
Mr Coombe said Moore had previous offences of theft, shoplifting and assaulting a police officer.
Tabitha Macfarlane, defending, conceded there was little she could say to mitigate the devastating impact her client's actions must have had on the Brailsford family.
"She is truly ashamed," she said.
Miss Macfarlane said Moore had an unhappy past but was now at "rock bottom" after getting in with the wrong crowd and abusing drugs.
She said she had lost her two children but that her endgame was to win them back if possible.
Judge Martin Picton said: "She chose to utilise a terrible tragedy afforded to this family in the area they lived to raise money for herself through lying. The effect on this poor boy's family has been huge.
"They were suffering enormously and they did not need this."
Moore, was jailed for 20 months for robbery and 10 months consecutive for fraud – a total of 30 months.