Woman stole from elderly mother to fund holidays and 40th birthday party, court hears

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

A daughter stole nearly £90,000 from her elderly mother and used the cash to pay off credit cards and fund holidays and going out with friends, a court heard.

Karen Wakeling, 47, is 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 and has dementia.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said Wakeling made a series of transactions, taking money from her mother's account and even using her cash to pay for her 40th birthday party at a hotel in Hunstanton.

Mr Youell said other transactions were for groceries, treatments, as well as buying items from Bravissimo and a Love Film subscription.

Mr Youell told the jury: "She abused her position of having power of attorney and spent the money for her own benefit, not for her mother."

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Mr Youell said Wakeling was meant to look after her mother's finances but he said: "The prosecution say she took a large sum of money of around £89,000 for her own use."

He said there was a big gap in what was being withdrawn from the account and what was actually being spent on her mother, who was a widow of a retired firefighter.

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He said: "A lot of the detail in this case has been taken from the bank accounts. It is all there in black and white."

Mr Youell said payments were also going directly from the mother's account to pay off Wakeling's credit cards: "Essentially they were being paid off from her mother's bank account. She was misappropriating large sums of money."

He said Wakeling was also a regular visitor to the Lodge Hotel, in Hunstanton, where she held her 40th birthday celebration.

He said: "Her mother was not invited but ended up paying for it."

Wakeling's brother moved in to help look after his mother in 2014 and said he had no idea about the spending on her account until finding out from the bank that the account had been frozen.

Wakeling, of School Road, Heacham, has pleaded not guilty to fraud in that she abused her position of trust as the holder of power of attorney in which she was expected to safeguard her mother's financial interests between October 1 2009, and June 29, 2019. The trial continues.

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