A 32-year-old Melton woman, who admitted conning people out of cash in the street to pay for her heroin and crack cocaine addiction, has stunned television viewers with her appearance after completing three months in rehab.
Kristie Bishop told The Jeremy Kyle Show she was ‘disgusted’ by her own behaviour as she revealed how her life descended into squallor over the last 15 years.
She admitted tricking her own grandparents out of money, as well as a succession of strangers, to fund her drug habit.
Kristie, looking gaunt and hollow-cheeked, was filmed at her filthy flat, which had no electricity or hot water, and preparing to inject herself with drugs.
After her tearful family confronted her on the ITV programme and told her she was heading for an early death, Kristie agreed to go on a 12-week residential rehab course.
She drew gasps of amazement from the audience when she re-appeared on the show three months later, having put on weight and looking and sounding like a different person.
Kristie told the programme she had addressed the way she had conned people out of money and the consequences that would have had on them.
She said: “I’m not going to say it was easy because there has been a lot of things I’ve had to face up to.
“My behaviour was appalling. I was heavily addicted and I didn’t have a way out until I came on this show.”
Earlier in the show, Kristie, a former pupil at King Edward VII School in Melton, appeared on a video where she openly admitted how she tricked people out of money in the street.
She was filmed saying: “I pay for my drugs by approaching people in the street and begging.
“I tell them I’m stranded and I make up a story - yesterday I made £280 doing this.
“After I’ve scored my drugs I go somewhere to inject them into my groin.
“I’ve lost everything to drugs, physically, mentally and emotionally.
“I haven’t got anything else to give.”
The programme showed a post on the Melton Neighbourhood Watch Facebook page which referred to her approaching people for money, stating: ‘Watch out! Kristie doing her rounds in car park’.
Her emotional mother, Dominque, described on the programme how Kristie had grown up in a loving family and that they had decided to expose her behaviour on national television because they were so desperately worried about her.
“She could die unless we get her some help,” she said.
“She was such a lovely, lovely girl up until her teenage years when she started taking drugs.
“I’m disgusted and ashamed of the way she has been behaving.”
Other family members appeared on the show including brother, Jay, who said he ‘loved her to bits’ but that he could not remember a time when she wasn’t a drug addict.
He grandfather, Jim, told her he was ‘disgusted’ that £40 he had given her for electicity had been spent on drugs.
The programme revealed Kristie was now living in supported housing alongside other former addicts who are in recovery.
Kristie has been arrested by Melton police on numerous occasions but had continued to reoffend to pay for her next fix.
Sgt Iain Wakelam said officers had been aware of Kristie’s activities for some time and that he had spoken with her almost a year ago and offered her the opportunity to meet with police and discuss what help could be offered to prevent her continuing her behaviour of conning people out of money but she failed to attend the meeting.
It was decided in the end to place her before the court to protect her victims, he said, although she often failed to attend her hearings.
Reacting to Kristie’s rehab organised by Jeremy Kyle, Sgt Wakelam told the Melton Times: “Having watched the show I think it clearly demonstrates that the family of addicts are often the biggest victims of their addiction and their need to fund the addiction.
“Kristie is still in the early stages of her recovery and I hope with the support of her family she can continue on her journey of rehabilitation and redemption.”