Daughter stole £15k from sick father and funded holiday

frail pensioner

Joanne Wilks given a suspended jail sentence for fraud - Credit: Archant

A daughter defrauded her vulnerable father of more than £15,000 which was meant to go towards his care costs, a court heard.

Joanne Wilks, 52, was given power of attorney over her father's finances as he had Parkinson's Disease and dementia and had to go into a nursing home, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Stephen Rose, prosecuting,  said Wilks abused her position of trust and used £15,594 from her father's bank account to fund her own lifestyle including paying for a holiday and using cash to cover her household expenses, including utility bills.

Mr Rose said the fraud was discovered after concerns by Norfolk County Council over unpaid bills for the victim's care. He said that her father had since died in 2019.

Mr Rose said when interviewed, Wilks said that there was no will but her father had wanted to leave cash to his children, although she accepted she had made a series of transactions, including paying for a holiday using money from his account.

He said the prosecution accepted that the fraud was not done to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Wilks, of Windsor Park Gardens, Sprowston, near Norwich, admitted fraud.

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John Morgans, for Wilks, said that she was thoroughly ashamed about what she did: "Her remorse is apparent".

He said that the case had taken some time to come to court and said she was terrified at the thought she might go to jail.

Recorder Gabrielle Posner imposed a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.

She said it was a serious offence: "It was an abuse of a position of trust."

Recorder Posner said Wilks had succumbed to temptation but accepted that some of the money would have eventually come to her and her relatives.

"The money was largely spent on living expenses in order to get on with life."

She said that she accepted Wilks was truly sorry and said: "Even though you are wearing a mask I can see it in your face."

She added: "I am confident that you will not offend again." 

The court heard Wilks had no assets to pay any cash back.

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