The best man of a soldier blown up in Afghanistan has admitted secretly stealing thousands of pounds from him just weeks before his wedding.
Conor Aldous , 22, callously stole £2,500 of compensation cash from triple-amputee Private Alex Stringer just weeks before helping him walk down the aisle on artificial legs.
Private Stringer, from Canvey, lost both his legs and his left arm in a massive explosion after stepping on a Taliban improvised explosive devise while serving his country in Afghanistan in January 2011.
He had been attempting to rebuild his life by organising his dream wedding to childhood sweetheart Danielle Stringer, for July 2012 when the sickening thefts occurred.
Aldous, from Grays, had been trusted with access to bank accounts and PIN codes to help care for and assist his friend during his recovery from life-changing injuries.
But Aldous abused that trust in a cynical bid to steal £2,500 in June 2012 – just weeks before he was best man at Private Stringer’s wedding.
The unemployed thief, from Grays, admitted one count of theft when he appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court today.
The court heard how Aldous was allowed to live at the family’s home on Canvey whilst secretly stealing their money.
Lesley Chipps, prosecuting, said: “The complainant was serving as a soldier for the British Army.
“In 2011, he stepped on a land mine and later received a substantial settlement for his injuries, some of which came from Help for Heroes.
“The complainant needed care so the defendant lived at the address to help as carer.”
A statement from Private Stringer, read out in court, said: “I’ve known the defendant since we were at school.
“He said he wanted to help and would sleep on the sofa. He used to help out around the house.”
The thefts were only discovered after the wedding when a routine call from the bank revealed a £40 transaction had in fact been £100.
The couple, who have three young children, then reviewed their bank statements in horror only to find a number of unauthorised transactions by Aldous.
Naomi Pitt, mitigating, said her client had been struggling with the death of his mum and spiralling debts when the thefts occurred.
Magistrates granted Aldous unconditional bail ahead of sentencing at Basildon Crown Court next month.
Aldous refused to comment when approached outside of court.
Today full-time mum Danielle Stringer, 22, spoke of the devastating effect the theft has had on Alex, 23, and their young family Millie, five, Harlie, three, and one-year-old Jessica.
She said: “We feel really let down as Conor was a part of the family.
“We’re happy he pleaded guilty but it still doesn’t cover the credit card he drained.
“Alex will have to work to pay it off which hardly seems fair.”
Alex recently unveiled a wheelchair-friendly picnic bench he designed for Help for Heroes at Chavasse VC House, a recovery centre for injured soldiers and veterans in Colchester.
He has since left the army and is planning on returning to college.