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Couple facing jail after stealing £280,000 from elderly Harleston woman

PUBLISHED: 09:27 02 October 2015 | UPDATED: 09:27 02 October 2015

Nadia Dervish and Michael Kenevan after leaving King's Lynn Crown Court. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Nadia Dervish and Michael Kenevan after leaving King's Lynn Crown Court. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015

An elderly woman was tricked out of more than £280,000 by a couple who used the money to buy a motor home, which they took on foreign holidays, a Mini and double-glazing.

Peggy Byford: Picture submittedPeggy Byford: Picture submitted

Nadia Dervish, 48, and partner Michael Kenevan, 54, also persuaded Peggy Byford, who was in her 90s and suffering from dementia, to change her will in their favour.

Dervish and Kenevan, from The Street, Alburgh, near Harleston, were both found guilty of six charges of theft by a jury at King’s Lynn crown court yesterday. Dervish had previously been found guilty of wilful neglect.

Both were released on bail but were told by Mr Recorder Boothby the likely sentence was custody.

Investigating officer, DC Michelle Hutchin, of Norfolk Constabulary, said afterwards: “This was a despicable crime against a very vulnerable, elderly lady.”

Dervish had started working as a cleaner for Mrs Byford and her husband Don, at their home in Harleston, more than a decade ago.

They became friends and, when Mr Byford died, his widow became more dependent on the couple.

As well as cleaning her home, they would look after her garden, and act as companions. Mrs Byford was also receiving help from care staff.

Dervish was given lasting power of attorney and in 2011, persuaded Mrs Byford to change her will in the couple’s favour.

Over a five-year period Mrs Byford signed cheques worth about £280,000 to the couple, which were cashed. The couple planned to use some of the money to pay off their mortgage and they also lent cash to friends. Mrs Byford died in 2014.

Giving evidence in the trial, Dervish claimed that Mrs Byford wanted them to have the money.

Mr Kenevan, who declined to give evidence at the trial, said in interview he did not think they were doing anything wrong.

The couple, who were arrested in December 2013, will be sentenced at King’s Lynn crown court today.


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