Portsmouth pensioner ‘gutted’ after falling for con artist talk

Emil White of Copnor was a victim of Steve Pearson who cheated her out of some Muhammed Ali boxing memorobilia. Pictured with two items she managed to recover ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151686-3)
Emil White of Copnor was a victim of Steve Pearson who cheated her out of some Muhammed Ali boxing memorobilia. Pictured with two items she managed to recover ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151686-3)
From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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PENSIONER Emi White hoped to raise thousands for her daughter’s children’s charity.

Emi, of Copnor Road, Copnor, decided to sell a few pieces of precious Mohammed Ali signed memorabilia from her collection.

When she met Steve Pearson she instantly trusted him and handed over some of her collection for him to sell.

That included a signed Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier picture, an Ali handprint, a pair of Ali’s shorts and a football signed by the Liverpool team along with a signed Steven Gerrard shirt.

The 71-year-old went to Pearson’s shop and recovered everything except the football and Ali vs Frazier picture when she was tipped off by Trading Standards.

Pearson told her he sold the picture she paid £795 for in Atlantic City for just £300. He then told her she would get £500 and thanked her for not going to the police.

But he never gave her a penny – leaving Emi and her husband John White, 74, struggling to raise money for the fundraiser for the children’s charity Silent Voices.

Emi said: ‘I feel absolutely gutted that I fell for his talk.

‘At one point he said he could get rid of all of it.’

She added: ‘I believed in him and I feel really foolish.

‘He had the shop behind him, he had the chat behind him, it was the people he knew and he knew everybody he said.’

Emi and her husband have been collecting for 30 years to sell the items for their retirement. They were still able to raise £1,800 at the 2014 fundraiser.