AN ENGINEER frittered away thousands of pounds of his elderly mother’s money after he was given power of attorney over her financial affairs.
Michael Edward Palframan, 53, got into a spending spiral and used it fund a lavish lifestyle.
He bought jewellery, went on holidays and even used her money to pay for his Caribbean cruise honeymoon.
Her home was sold in order to fund her care in a residential home, but once Palframan spent all that he started taking her pension.
Palframan topped up his mother’s account each month so the £1,900 fee of keeping her in the home could be met and so he would not be found out, Mold Crown Court was told.
But his brother, who employed him and who saw he appeared to be living beyond his means, challenged him and then called in the police.
Palframan, of St David’s Court, Connah’s Quay, who admitted two charges of dishonestly abusing his position as power of attorney over the affairs of Louise Palframan, now 84 but aged 81 when the offences first occurred, by applying her funds for his own purposes, got away with some £95,000.
He was jailed for two years and eight months.
Judge Rhys Rowlands told him it was “a dreadful breach of trust committed against your own mother”. It was, he said, a “very mean offence indeed”.
The judge said life became a circle – his parents looked after him when he was young and as time moved on the reverse happened.
“You should have been looking after your mother’s interests. Selfishly, you were looking after your own,” he said.
Over a 14-month period he took large amounts of her money to “fund a lifestyle that otherwise you simply could not afford”.
Mr Rowlands told him: “Having spent the proceeds of your mother’s home, you then started to take her pension.”
He said it was a breach of a high degree of trust against his mother, who was vulnerable .
“This was selfish, plain and simple,” he added.
The offences occurred at Prestatyn and involve withdrawal of money from two of her bank accounts.
Prosecuting barrister Sarah Badrawy told how £105,000 had gone from one account and £7,400 from another – but it was accepted some money had been legitimately spent on his mother and a total loss figure of £95,000 had been agreed.
An investigation showed £64,000 had been withdrawn in cash transfers and he had spent money on day to day living, holidays, foreign currency, jewellery and on his honeymoon in March 2012.
He was granted power of attorney in August 2011 and two days later began spending her money.
Initially he took money from one of her accounts and then spent “every penny” of the proceeds of the sale of her home.
When that was gone he took her pension money.
In a two-month period he had spent £62,000, Miss Badrawy said.
Palframan, who has no previous convictions, was one of three brothers.
One brother, Anthony, employed the defendant at his engineering company, paying him up to £25,000 a year. He did not know the defendant had power of attorney, but in 2012 he noticed Palframan was spending a lot of money, was talking about paying off his mortgage, buying property in Spain and having laser eye treatment.
He confronted his brother who refused to give him access to his mother’s accounts and said he had invested some of the money.
Immediately after that meeting £18,000 was returned into the account.
Interviewed by the police, he said his mother had given him consent to withdraw money, but said it had spiralled out of control.
Miss Badrawy said the family had been torn apart by what had happened.
Richard English, defending, said the prosecution case was accepted.
Palframan and his mother were close, they had discussed withdrawing money, but he accepted there came a time when she was not capable of authorising the transactions.
Money was invested and £20,000 had been returned to her account.
He accepted that money had been “frittered away” and spent on matters which perhaps were not entirely necessary.
It was a tragic state of affairs, Palframan had demonstrated “real and abject remorse” and was ashamed of himself.
He had been caught “in a spiral of spending” and he knew he should not have done it.
“In his own words, he was a complete idiot,” said Mr English.
Palframan was still close to his mother, he visited twice a week and rang her twice a day. There was concern about how his mother would cope if he was imprisoned, he said.