Dereham man jailed for stealing more than £100,000 from his own grandmother

Darren Coates was jailed for 30 months for theft. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Darren Coates was jailed for 30 months for theft. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A man bought a car, a new kitchen, a holiday and even made a payment to the Freemasons after stealing more than £100,000 from his 'frail' and 'vulnerable' 89-year-old grandmother, a court has heard.

Darren Coates, 46, let his grandmother, who is now 90, stay at his house after she moved out of her home following problems with her health.

It was agreed she would pay £200 a week to stay and because she was not mobile she gave Coates her bank cards so she could pay for her keep.

The victim, who arrived at Coates' home in May 2014, would also give the defendant power of attorney over her financial affairs before she sold her home in October 2014.

Norwich Crown Court heard the victim assumed the money from the sale of the house would be paid into one of her bank accounts but instead was paid into a joint account held by Coates and his wife Claire.

Hugh Vass, prosecuting, said the victim's cash was spent by Coates 'willy nilly' on a 'very expensive car', a holiday, a new kitchen and other household items.

Coates had also made a payment to the Freemasons but the 'large scale misuse' of the victim's financial affairs did not come to light until after she went into a care home and asked a family member to get her bank statements because she had been fobbed off by the defendant.

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Coates, of Elmham Road, Beetley, near Dereham, was yesterday sentenced to 30 months in prison after previously admitting the theft of £100,564,14 between April 2014 and February 2015.

Jailing Coates Judge Maureen Bacon said the defendant's 'desire' for the items he bought with the money he stole showed a 'complete disregard' for 'an elderly lady whose increasing years and a variety of health problems had compromised both her sight and mobility'.

Michael Clare, for Coates, accepted it was a 'breach of trust' on a 'vulnerable' victim but said his client had not targeted his grandmother.

Mr Clare added Coates was 'disgusted' with himself and was 'remorseful' and wanted to pay the money back.

A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing will take place in May.

Coates' wife Claire had been charged in relation to the offence but yesterday the prosecution offered no evidence against her. Judge Bacon ordered she be found not guilty.

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