Norwich woman stole more than £200,000 from her elderly uncle and went on luxury spending spree
- Credit: Norfolk Constabulary
A Norwich woman went on a spending spree on items such as holidays, meals out and shopping trips by plundering more than £200,000 from her elderly uncle's bank account, while leaving his care home bills unpaid, a court heard.
Lindsay Matthews, 61, from Manby Road, Norwich, stole the cash after being given lasting power of attorney (LPA) for the affairs of her uncle Anthony Turner, who was in his 80s, which allowed her to take charge of all his finances,
Martin Ivory, prosecuting, told the court she blew the money on luxuries including spending £5,520 on holidays, £1,200 in restaurants, £7,000 on clothing and £12,600 on her Marks and Spencer store card.
He said the thefts were uncovered after there was £39,000 in unpaid care home fees and when questioned, Matthews was quite upfront about stealing the cash and said she had spent it on clothing, going out, buying gifts and treats and jewellery. She claimed she had not wanted some of her relatives to get her uncle's cash, although the court heard she was in fact named as one of five beneficiaries in his will, so she would have been legally entitled to some of the money she stole.
He said Mr Turner died aged 88 in December 2016 and by then all his cash had just about gone.
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Matthews admitted theft of £219,601. Originally the figure was put at £309,759 although further investigations were ordered by the court to check the correct final sum which showed it was in fact a lesser figure.
Jailing her for three years, Judge Anthony Bate said that the offence was in breach of trust and said: 'This was a very mean and sustained theft of your late uncle's assets.'
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He said quite where all the money went would be subject to a confiscation hearing but said she had spent it on luxury items and gifts.
He said ironically she would have been entitled to some of the cash left in her uncle's will if she had waited and not stolen the cash.
Andrew Oliver, for Matthews, said she had been depressed and drinking and suffered from low esteem at the time:: 'She became addicted to spending in order to boost her self-esteem.'
He said: 'She lightened her mood by spending money on items she did not need, she did not want and gave people gifts. It was her way of alleviating the problems she had in her life.'