Stroke victim fleeced of his savings by carer


Staff reporter

A CARER fleeced a stroke victim of his savings, a court heard yesterday.

Victim David Edward Lewis was 68 when he died in October 2010 and it was only after his death the thefts were discovered.

It turned out that carer Belinda Dent, 44, emptied his bank account then transferred money from his ISA into that account so she could steal that as well.

The money in the ISA had been to pay for his funeral expenses.

The thefts meant John Morris, the trustee of his will, had to pay for the funeral out of his own pocket.

Mold Crown Court was told that to this day the victim did not have a headstone because there was no money left.

Dent, of Ffordd Canton in Bagillt, admitted stealing £13,000 from Mr Lewis while caring for him at his home in Prestatyn.

The court heard that last year while working as a carer Dent had received a suspended sentence for stealing more than £500 from a 92-year-old client.

But it was stressed the present offences had occurred before that offence.

Judge Niclas Parry deferred sentence until next June to see if Mr Lewis’ estate could be compensated – so the trustee would be reimbursed.

He accepted she had been driven by the natural instincts of a mother fighting for her family in extremely difficult financial circumstances which had been beyond her control.

She would be bailed at this stage to go home to her daughter and the judge said if the money was repaid it would extend the sentencing options available to him.

The court heard that now her parents knew of Dent’s predicament they would be able to help raise the money.

David Mainstone, prosecuting, said Mr Lewis suffered a stroke in 2001, he was in residential care for a while but returned home the following year.

He required constant care with his meals, washing and bathing. A private company took over his care and then the defendant’s employers, Cambrian Home Care Ltd, took over in January 2010.

Mr Lewis was able to manage his affairs but physically he deteriorated, had difficulty signing cheques and Dent, as his main carer, was made a signatory on his bank account and his ISA.

But over a seven month period to October 2010 she made over 100 withdrawals of between £100 and £200. In one seven day period she withdrew £1,300.

The bank account had £5,000 in it initially but she then transferred cash from the ISA into the account and took that as well, on occasions making cheques when he was in hospital and when she was not working.

There was just £200 left in his bank account when he died in October 2010.

Arrested and interviewed, she claimed she had spent £1,000 on a special chair for him, £800 on clothes, falsely claimed he had given her a gift of £1,000 and had given her daughter £1,000 to celebrate the birth of a child.

But later interviewed in May this year she agreed the chair was £500 which had been paid by cheque and she could not account for the remainder of the expenditure.

Mr Mainstone said the ISA had been set up to ensure funeral expenses could be paid, the executor had to cover that from his own pocket, and to this day he could not afford to get Mr Lewis a headstone.

Dafydd Roberts, defending, said it was no excuse but at the time Dent had faced the repossession of her home and car.

She had a strong work ethic, had not told anyone about her problems, her husband had been disabled following a stroke and she had a daughter now 12 to support.

“She is genuinely remorseful and ashamed of her behaviour,” Mr Roberts explained.

Her parents, now that they knew, were disappointed but were willing to help raise the money needed for compensation. Dent’s finances were now under control.

See full story in the Leader

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