Cranwich pensioner hopes for fresh start following jail of businessman John Drewe

A pensioner conned out of her home and life savings is finally hoping to move on with her life, more than three years after the event.

Jeanne Du Feu, 71, who moved to Cranwich, near Thetford, seven years ago, said she was “relieved” after the fraudster, John Drewe, was jailed for eight years this week after a lengthy trial at Norwich Crown Court.

Drewe, 64, of Reigate, Surrey, was convicted of the theft of �240,000 from the sale of Miss De Feu’s house in Charlton, south London, and fraud involving the transfer of the title of her Cranwich home, which was valued at about �425,000, which Drewe transferred to his company Energy Resources Group, but which had never traded or had any assets.

Miss Du Feu, a retired music therapist, said: “I’m very relieved he’s been put in jail and that it’s a nice long sentence so hopefully he’ll never do it again to someone else.

“I hadn’t been able to sleep properly for two or three years because I woke up having panic attacks. Mainly the thing was that it took so long to get to the bottom of all this.

“I’ve been very insecure all this time but I’m feeling a bit better now because it’s come to a climax and an end now. I’ve had some wonderful support from friends and family.”

The incident began when her late husband, David Greenwood, who died four years ago of a sudden heart attack at the age of 68, met Drewe and it has left Miss Du Feu relying on the goodwill of friends and family, as well as her pension, at a time when she believed she would be living in relative comfort.

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Miss Du Feu said that, although she was not clear how Drewe and her husband met, she was told Drewe was an electrical engineer, the same line of work as Mr Greenwood.

In the years that followed, Miss Du Feu signed various papers, some of which she later found out were cut and pasted into forged documents, and others which came after the death of her husband, when she did not fully understand what was going on.

During the ordeal, Miss Du Feu also underwent a brain operation for a neurological disorder at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, in 2007.

“When I was in hospital I apparently gave him the deeds for this house,” she said. “I thought I was signing something to do with my operation. He did get me to sign things at other times but I also thought they were other things to what they were.”

She said her husband had trusted Drewe, and added: “David thought he was okay because they were in the same line of work.

“John Drewe is very clever and learnt a little about a lot of things. He found they had a lot in common and John Drewe always seemed to have an answer for everything and know where David could get help if he needed it. David was a very hard-working electrical engineer – he wasn’t a criminal at all.”

It was only the intervention of friends in 2008 who helped her seek advice from a Norfolk lawyer which prevented the loss of her �425,000 home in Cranwich.

She now hopes to put the incident behind her and intends to stay in Norfolk.

She added: “I’ve got a lot of friends and I’m happy here. He did leave me short of money but hopefully I’ll get back to where I was.”