£30K legacy stolen by aunt from niece

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A CASH-STRAPPED aunt who blew more than £30,000 of her niece’s inheritance has been jailed.

Carole Walker was appointed sole trustee of her brother David Vickers’ estate after he died suddenly.

Mr Vickers’ dying wish was for all he owned to be left in trust for his daughter Charlotte, 19, until she reached 21.

But within months of taking control of her brother’s cash, Walker had blown £34,147.

Just a day after the money was paid into her account to look after, she spent £3,000 in Asda.

The close family of Mr Vickers have been left angered by the deception, which yesterday led to Walker being jailed for eight months.

The 57-year-old, from Washington, admitted theft at Newcastle Crown Court, at an earlier hearing.

The Echo understands the debt-ridden mum, of Ennerdale, Albany, told police she had initially thought she was entitled to spend some of the cash, which she needed to pay off loan sharks and make improvements to her poorly mother’s home.

Sentencing Walker, who has never been in trouble before, Recorder Jonathan Bennett said: “You were executor, you were holding the money on trust until your niece was 21.

“You chose then to go and use this money for a whole variety of purposes.

“Within a day or so of you getting this sum, in excess of £30,000, the first thing you were doing was not paying off loans and so forth or doing house repairs on your mother’s house, but going to Asda and spending £3,000 on various electrical items.”

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court the police became involved after Walker discussed with family members the plans she had for spending the money on home improvements and a car.

He said: “It became apparent the defendant was not administering the estate the way it should be, according to the terms of the deceased’s will.

“The police were called and an investigation began. She accepted she had spent the money she was not entitled to.

“She said at the time she was in considerable debt and had borrowed money from loan sharks and had difficulty keeping up with mortgage repayments so had spent some on that.

“There was £34,065 paid into her account on November 10, 2010. The following day, November 11, a total of £3,000 was spent at Asda by the defendant in respect of, the crown believe, electrical items and there was other expenditure of a similar nature on the following days.”

The court heard Walker – carer for her mum and husband – had wrongly believed her brother had made a provision for her and their mother.

Glen Gatland, defending, said Walker has now put a charge on her mother’s home, which means her niece Charlotte will get the money she is owed back after the pensioner dies or moves out.

Mr Gatland said Walker’s own home was repossessed, despite her getting money from loan sharks to try and save her house.

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