Daughter jailed for stealing £80,000 from her elderly mum with dementia

Karen Wakeling. PIC: Norfolk Constabulary.

Karen Wakeling. PIC: Norfolk Constabulary. - Credit: Archant

A shamed daughter has been jailed for stealing more than £80,000 from her elderly mother - who suffers from dementia - using the cash for holidays and even her 40th birthday party.

Karen Wakeling, 47, was said to have breached her position of trust over a 10-year period while having power of attorney over the affairs of her mother, who is in her 80s.

Norwich Crown Court had heard that Wakeling made a series of transactions, taking money from her mother’s account to fund holidays, pay off debts and even using her cash to pay for her 40th birthday party at a hotel in Hunstanton.

She had denied fraud, between October 2009 and June 2019, but a jury took just over an hour to find her guilty of fraud following a trial in January.

Wakeling, whose address held by the court is Northgate, Hunstanton, was initially due to be sentenced in March but the hearing was adjourned until Tuesday (June 9) in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said Wakeling was to be sentenced for having taken “in excess of £80,000”.

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The court heard that the offence was aggravated by the length of time it was conducted over.

Jailing Wakeling for a total of two years, Judge Anthony Bate said the offence was so serious that nothing other than immediate imprisonment could be justified for this sustained fraud.

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Judge Bate, who conducted the hearing over Skype during the coronavirus lockdown, said Wakeling had “perpetuated over a number of years a sustained, dishonest breach of trust and treated your mother’s bank account as your own to spend on yourself”.

Dudley Beal, who appeared for Wakeling, said it had started out as legitimate in terms of Wakeling managing her mother’s estate.

He said it was not a case that the money was got through coercion or intimidation and insisted she had not set out to “fleece her mother dry”.

Mr Beal said it was simply that the money was there and her mother said she could have it “albeit that’s not something she should have done”.

The trial heard how money taken from her mother’s account included cash to pay for her 40th birthday party, groceries, treatments, as well as items from Bravissimo and a Love Film subscription.

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