Women Timeshare Scammers -life torn apart

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Women Timeshare Scammers -life torn apart
« on: June 10, 2019, 14:15:35 »

On the Mend

Lilly Lewis, who grew up in the Wirral, Merseyside, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud three years ago. Being locked up has made her a better mum to daughter Issy she stated. Her sentence left her daughter Issy Dougherty, from Rochdale, to fend for herself at the age of 15.

Issy, who had spent much of her childhood in care, was unable to move in with her mum as planned when she reached the age of 16 and instead took on the burden of supporting herself at a young age. But Lilly, who has been a victim of domestic violence and has previously struggled with drinking problems and depression, claims that her time inside has improved her as a parent.

Speaking on the BBC documentary Women Prisoners, Lilly apologised to her daughter now 19 and said: “I think because I’m always conscious I wasn’t the best mum I’m so conscious of being that now. “I think if I could have said anything to you back then it would have been that I’m sorry it took for me to be taken away - to be a good mum and I wish I could’ve done that without all this. “I can never give you that time back, but I’ll try my best.”

Issy shows no resentment towards her mum, and the pair have a good relationship with Lilly visiting her daughter every three weeks on release. Speaking on the programme Issy said: “When we do get to see each other it is amazing. It’s the best time that I have.” But the teen does admit she found life extremely difficult when her mum was first taken to prison. She continued: “When I found out my mum was going to jail my only option then was to go into independent living.

Due to her mum's struggles with alcohol, Issy was put into care at the age of 14. “The difficult thing was for everything to be on you. I had to do my dishes, I had to do my washing. If my electric went - it was on me. “I was 16 and basically I was the only person that could have helped myself. I also had to quit college because I had to get a job to afford my bills. “I felt like I had failed myself even though it wasn’t my fault.”
She admits that she found the separation even harder than being put into care as she was unable to have regular contact with Lilly.

Issy continued: “That was probably the most difficult thing that could have happened to me is losing my mum. I’d lost her again even though I’d lost her in care it was like an extra loss now. “I wasn’t able to ring her when I wanted or I couldn’t just meet her for a coffee, it was a completely different separation.”

An emotional Lilly was reduced to tears on the programme when she learnt of her daughter’s fears about walking home alone at night. Issy told her: “The first night it was easy, but it was probably a couple of weeks after that and I was going to work, and I would be coming back, and it would be late. “I used to think if something did happen to me on the way home there’s no one that is at home waiting for me so that was scary for me.”

Wiping away a tear Lilly said: “That makes me sad when you say that. At 16 you should have somebody waiting for you to come home.” Lilly admits that she was in a violent relationship for about 20 years and at the age of 12 her daughter moved in with her dad before discovering that he too was struggling with alcoholism.
She said: “I would drink as a coping mechanism and I would accept the abuse because I had such low self-esteem.

“Issy and my relationship has always been that Issy has parented me for as long as I can remember.

“From the age of around seven is when the severe abuse took place and Issy would stand between me and the perpetrators.

But Issy has no hard feelings and has told her mum she is "proud" of her “I was the best mum I could be at the time but when I look back, I know that that wasn’t good enough.” After briefly moving to Spain with her mum Issy returned to live with Lilly and her boyfriend in Birmingham. Lilly’s partner said that he worked for a timeshare company. She says that her ex would “ply her with alcohol” and accessed her personal data and emails, forwarding them to his friends and using them to scam timeshare owners.

Writing on her blog Lilly admits: “I didn’t know it was a  scam. But when I did realise the truth, I turned a blind eye. I simply didn't care. “At this time, I didn’t care about anything other than alcohol, cocaine and spending money buying nice things.”

She slowly became more and more dependent on alcohol, leading her to attempt suicide on five occasions, eventually seeing her sectioned under the Mental Health Act with Issy put into care.

In 2013, she called the police to inform them of her partner’s fraud and a year later she too was arrested and placed in a women’s refuge until she was sentenced in 2016. Lilly has now been granted a reduced sentence and will be released later this year, returning to her home in Rochdale on Christmas Eve.

She has also gained herself a job on the outside to help her build her life ahead of her release, working at the Centre for Criminal Appeals on their Women's Justice Initiative, which says too many women are in prison unnecessarily. And her relationship with daughter Issy is stronger than ever, with Lilly admitting it’s the “most important one she’s got.”

She added: “I think to be able to come out on release on temporary license has saved Issy and I’s relationship because it’s given us something that we can do together on a fortnightly basis to keep that bond to keep the family ties and to grow stronger.” And Issy was keen to tell her mum how “proud” she is that Lilly was able to “get through it all.”

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is looking into the effect imprisoning mums has on families. They will give their report to the government in Summer 2019.