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Woman who stole from man in 80s with dementia ordered to pay back £61,000

PUBLISHED: 15:03 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:03 23 August 2018

Jake Filby failed to stop as he travelled towards Gorleston on August 15 last year, despite the officer standing in the road and raising his hands. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jake Filby failed to stop as he travelled towards Gorleston on August 15 last year, despite the officer standing in the road and raising his hands. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A Norwich woman who stole thousands of pounds from a vulnerable pensioner she befriended must pay back more than £60,000 in compensation.

Sonja Sharp had known the man, who is in his 80s, for several years and was trusted to manage his affairs when he developed dementia.

But in January this year Norwich Crown Court heard how the 53-year-old stole £9,539 from the man between February 2016 and January 2017.

She admitted the theft and avoided an immediate prison sentence.

But Sharp has now been ordered to pay £61,091 in compensation following a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing today.

Judge Stephen Holt said £137,376 was taken from the victim’s account between 2011 and 2017.

But he added it would be a “serious injustice” to assume all of the money went to the defendant.

Norwich Crown Court heard how Sharp, of Bawburgh Road, Easton, had previously worked as the man’s cleaner and later became friends with him.

Sharp claimed the victim insisted on giving her the money.

But Judge Holt said he found her evidence “wholly unsatisfactory”.

He said when Sharp was asked about an £8,200 payment that went into her account in 2011, she explained the victim wanted to “pay off” her mortgage.

Judge Holt calculated the compensation figure by multiplying £9,539 over a six-year period, and adding interest.

Sentencing her in January, Judge Holt said: “He [the victim] lacked the capacity to deal with his financial affairs and he was moved to a care home.

“Over a 12-month period you have taken these sums of money from him. He had trusted you to look after his money.

“The courts time and time again see people in your position taking advantage of elderly people who have lost the capacity to manage their own affairs by helping themselves to their money.”

At the same January hearing, Sharp received an eight-month jail sentence suspended for two years.

The judge accepted she had shown remorse by pleading guilty and had not spent the cash on any lavish lifestyle but just day to day living.

Andrew Oliver, for Sharp, said she was remorseful, adding: “She is desperately sorry it happened”.

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