Man spent father's £20k on home improvements rather than on care fees

Norwich Crown Court.

Andrew Nicklin has been sentenced at Norwich Crown Court after admitting a £20k fraud. - Credit: Archant

A man spent more than £20,000 of his father's money doing up a house rather than paying care home fees, a court has heard.

Andrew Nicklin, 55, had been delegated by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as an 'appointee' for his 97-year-old father, Alfred Nicklin, who has dementia and was deemed not to have capacity over his financial affairs. It meant he dealt with his father's benefits, on his behalf.

Norwich Crown Court heard Nicklin's father had been in Marine Court care home in Great Yarmouth since May 2017 with the defendant expected to pay towards his father's fees every four weeks.

But Lori Tucker, prosecuting, said despite receiving 133 payments from his father's post office account totalling £20,820.66 it was found Nicklin had paid not a penny towards the care fees for his father.

The money had been spent on making improvements to his father's home, which he had since moved into.

Police were later contacted about the unpaid care fees and when Mr Nicklin was spoken to he said he understood that a deferred payment scheme had been set up meaning the fees would be recovered at a later date.

But the prosecution insisted there was "no deferred payment scheme in being".

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Nicklin, of Royal Thames Road, Caister-on-Sea, appeared at court to be sentenced on Tuesday (December 21) having previously admitted fraud between 2017 and 2020.

Danielle O'Donovan, mitigating, said the defendant, who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and emphysema and was on a waiting list for a lung transplant, had pleaded guilty to the offence. 

She said he knew the money was not his to spend but thought that, in due course, those monies would be repaid from the sale of his father's home.

She said the defendant had spent the money on the house so it would ultimately be of benefit to the local authority.

Judge Anthony Bate handed Nicklin a 10 month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and also made Nicklin the subject of an electronically-monitored curfew for six months between 8pm and 6am.

Judge Bate took into account the defendant's guilty plea, his health condition and the fact he was an only son to his father who might find it "distressing" if he was unable to continue to visit regularly as he had been.

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