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Woman who stole from former wrestling star

Sharon Reid, from Macclesfield, twice tricked Roney Smith, a sixties wrestling star known as Jumping Jim Moser.

Sharon Francis Reid, 42, of Cedar Grove, Macclesfield

A woman who twice tricked and stole cash from an elderly former wrestling star has avoided jail.

Sharon Francis Reid, 42, targeted Roney Smith in his own home, getting away with £340.

Mr Smith, who lived in Wilmslow and was a star on the wrestling circuit in the 1960s and 70s under the name ‘Jumping Jim Moser’, died in November last year after a short illness, aged 82.

But in the years leading up to his death when he was ‘generous and vulnerable’, Reid targeted him and even tried to seduce him to get away with cash, a court heard.

In November 2015 she visited and faked that she needed the toilet before sneaking away with a wallet containing £300 and mobile phone, the court heard.

She struck again the following month by claiming she had been the victim of an assault, prosecutors said.

In her desperation, Reid even tried to seduce the elderly athlete before tricking him into thinking he had left his gas on then pushing him over and stealing £40 from his pocket, the court heard.

At Chester Crown Court, mum-of-four Reid, of Cedar Grove, Macclesfield, admitted two counts of theft dating back to November and December 2015.

Roney Smith, aka Jumping Jim Moser, pictured with friend Joe Whalley (right)

Sentencing her to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Roger Dutton told her: “These were mean thefts from an elderly man who was generous and vulnerable.”

Oliver King, prosecuting, said: “On the first occasion the victim, who knew the defendant from when she lived in Handforth, was suspicious and didn’t want to let her in. After several requests he let her into the lounge. When he got into the room the wallet was gone. They both spent 20 minutes looking for it. She left, never going to the toilet.

“Two weeks later around 10pm the defendant claimed she had been beaten up because she owed some money. He was suspicious because she didn’t appear injured. She brushed him aside and went into the house.”

The court heard that despite Mr Smith repeatedly asking her to leave Reid sat on his knee ‘put her hands all over him’ and made a suggestive comment.

Mr King said: “She then told him he had left the gas on. He made his way to the kitchen slowly because of problems with his knees. She pushed him so he stumbled forward and then reached into his back pocket and took £40.”

Defending Rob Kearney, defending, Reid, who has convictions for violence and dishonesty, said she is trying to deal with an alcohol and drugs problem.

Roney Smith, aka Jumping Jim Moser, was a wrestling star in the 60s and 70s

Roney Smith arrived in the UK from Jamaica and was a talented sportsman skilled at weightlifting and cycling.

He was spotted by Manchester promoter Jack Atherton and began competing in the local scene.

Roney fought all over the world where he developed a reputation for a devastating drop kick and a head butt that earned him the nickname ‘Iron Head’, and appeared on TV numerous times. He was popular among fans and fellow wrestlers.

Joe Whalley met Roney more than 50 years ago when they both frequented the former Blue Bell pub in Wilmslow, and travelled all over the region with him.

Joe, 78, from Wilmslow, said: “All the lads loved Jim. He used to love holding court with all his tales of his matches and travels. He went all over the world and loved it. He was a real athlete. A huge guy. He loved the camaraderie of the fellow wrestlers and would always spend time with the fans. He was a great guy.

“In his later years he struggled with his legs and was a bit stooped. He used to joke that he had shrunk. He had a great sense of humour.”

Roney was also a landlord of two now defunct Manchester pubs – the Northumberland on Chester Road and Caught on the Hop on Withington Road.

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