THE best friend of a triple-amputee soldier has been jailed – for stealing £2,500 from him.
Conor Aldous, 22, of Parsonage Road, Grays, stole the money from Private Alex Stringer, before helping him down the aisle as best man at his wedding.
Aldous was jailed for ten months at Basildon Crown Court.
Private Stringer, 23, lost both legs and his left arm when he stepped on a Taleban bomb while serving in Afghanistan in 2011.
After the attack, he moved from Canvey to Chadwell St Mary with his childhood sweetheart, Danielle, and their children.
Charlotte Davison, prosecuting, told the court Private Stringer had a carer and nurse but Aldous, who had known the soldier since school, said he wanted to move in to help with his care.
Aldous was trusted with access to Private Stringer’s bank account and his PIN number.
The court heard when Aldous’s mother died in Spain in 2011, Private Stringer lent him £50,000 to fly her body back to the UK.
Aldous then began withdrawing cash from Private Stringer’s bank accounts, sparking rows between the soldier and his fiancee.
In July 2012, the couple received a credit card statement showing two £400 withdrawals had been made from a cashpoint on Canvey, while Private Stringer was in hospital.
The couple confronted Aldous, but he denied stealing the cash.
However, he later admitted the theft in a Facebook message and pleaded guilty to theft when he appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court in February.
In court this week Matthew Bowman, mitigating, said: “Alex Stringer was left disabled serving his country and this man breached that trust and now has to live with the shame.
“It is very difficult to understand why he did this in the context of Mr and Mrs Stringer’s generosity.
“He was not aware Mr Stringer had received compensation from the Army and he says his offer of help was genuine.”
In addition to a ten-month sentence, Aldous was ordered to pay the family back the £2,500.
Judge David Owen- Jones, sentencing Aldous on Tuesday, said: “I do not think you embarked on this from the beginning or targeted him.
“But this was a mean offence, committed against a school pal who trusted you and accommodated you in his home.”
The young couple spoke later of the devastating effect the theft had.
Alex, who has three children – Millie, five, Harlie, three, and one-year-old Jessica, with his wife Danielle, 22, said: “I’ve known him since school. He even helped me walk down the aisle.
“But he twisted that friendship. He convinced me we were overspending on our wedding to cover up the thefts.”
Alex has left the Army and is planning on returning to college.