The people of Tricklewood, East London took advantage of local miser Eric Scrooge after he suffered a mental collapse, a jury at the High Court heard today.
Renowned curmudgeon Scrooge was described in court as normally "tighter than the cheeks of a choirboy" by his nephew Fred Scrooge, but following a period of over-work squeezing the poor he suffered a devastating nervous breakdown.
On Christmas Day this year, Police Constable Stanley Gibbons witnessed Mr Scrooge in a state of high excitement running up and down a snow-covered street in a nightshirt and bare feet, calling out for a massive goose.
When later questioned by a Police psychiatrist, the doolally miser claimed to have been visited by the ghosts of his dead business partners and then three more apparitions during the night. Word soon spread that the clam-handed payday lender had gone ‘batshit loopy’ and soon a large crowd descended eager to take advantage of the old man’s plight.
Police estimate that the mad-haired former skinflint handed over the equivalent of £85,000 in cash to ‘total bloody strangers’, and instructed local urchins to remove valuables from his home, as gifts for the poor and needy. These included four widescreen TV’s, a home cinema system, gold bath fittings, £3000 of golf equipment, £20,000 of jewelry and a Vespa.
The local underprivileged then spent Christmas morning bedecked in jewels and cash cavorting in the road and singing songs about what a fine old fellow Scrooge was, even if he had lost his marbles.
Allan Dickens QC, for Mr Scrooge, said that after a period spend drying out at the local Priory, his client was outraged to discover he had been ripped off by "a bunch of muppets". Mr Scrooge immediately contacted his lawyers seeking redress.
Robert Scratchit, a former employee of the plaintiff, appeared in the dock charged with conspiracy to defraud. The prosecution claim Scratchit told Scrooge that his youngest child, Tiny Tom, was suffering from a life-threatening bout of trapped wind. Upon hearing this news, Scrooge wrote a cheque for an all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyworld, Orlando, with a further £5,000 in spending money for the entire Scratchit family.
Van driver Tom Scratchit, 32, the co-accused said he regretted the deception, the whole two weeks they were in Florida.
Scratchit added that he would happily return his share of Scrooge’s money, if only he could remember "where either of those hookers lived".