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Durban - Conwoman Yvonne Malone, accused of dumping a swastika-emblazoned pig’s head on the steps of a Durban Synagogue in the 1980s and fleeing the country, has been found guilty in the UK on a string of fraud charges.
Malone, 63, gained notoriety for the anti-Semitic assault in 1988, and also evaded a charge of attempted murder that year after she shot and wounded a gardener on the Bluff.
She was found guilty of 18 counts of fraud in the Reading Crown Court this month and is expected to be sentenced this week.
Using the alias Yvonne Doyle in the UK, the wheelchair-bound woman is alleged to have stolen the identity of a dead four-year-old girl in a con which stretched over decades.
Doyle stole the ID of Carol Ann Naylor, a physically disabled girl who died in 1951, to falsely claim nearly £350 000 (R5.37 million) in a string of benefits from the British government.
She used the same surname to pose as a vicar called Reverend Naylor.
She completed her scam by assuming the identity of Bridgette Meally, who died in 1999, to claim a carer’s allowances for the crippled Naylor.
Crown Court prosecutor Linda Strudwick, quoted in the London- based paper The Sun, described Doyle as calculating and deceitful.
“The defendant stole identities of people living and deceased and utilised them to acquire credit and to defraud. She is clever, manipulative, bold and wholly dishonest,” she said.
Doyle, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, claimed she was severely disabled and unable to walk, despite the fact that when she was arrested she walked without any crutches and was not in a wheelchair.
She now faces prison and is expected to have her assets seized in a bid to recoup her ill-gotten gains.
In an apparent stalling tactic, she fired her legal team just before her last court appearance.
Previously, while awaiting trial, crafty Doyle skipped bail and fled to Ireland on a false passport. She was arrested and brought back to England.
In April 1988, worshippers at the Great Synagogue and Jewish Club on Durban’s beachfront found a pig’s head, decorated with a swastika on the forehead and a Star of David on each ear, on the front steps. They found an identical head on the back steps of the building.
Malone, who owned Anstey’s Steakhouse, was arrested at her Bluff home a week later, after a butcher who had sold her the heads approached police when a reward for information was offered.
She attempted to send police on a fruitless chase when she phoned the Daily News under a fake name, insisting she had seen a group of neo-Nazis march up to the steps and dump the pig’s head.
The Irish immigrant also faced a charge of attempted murder, and was alleged to have shot and wounded a gardener at the Bluff duplex where she lived.
She failed to appear in court for either of the charges and at the time was thought to have fled the country.
Malone, 38 years old then, had lived in Durban for nearly three years with her husband.
Associate director of the South African Board of Jewish Deputies, David Saks, after consulting with members who remembered the 1988 incident, said it was aimed at intimidating the Jewish community of Durban.
“The pig’s head incident was a straight-forward hate crime, one aimed at insulting and intimidating the Durban Jewish community.
“We do not know if this particular individual was in fact guilty of that act, or of the other things that she was suspected of before she fled the country,” he said.
“If she was, however, then we welcome the fact that justice, albeit belatedly, has caught up with her,” Saks added.
The saga was even condemned at the time by state president PW Botha, when in an address he warned that neo-Nazi antics would not be tolerated.
Local police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said that warrants of arrest for failing to appear in court were no longer in place for Malone.