A SON emptied his adopted dad’s bank account to support a “hedonistic lifestyle” while the pensioner was being treated in hospital.
Alexander Smith, 71, expected to find about £7,000 in his bank account after he was discharged, but had a balance of just £143.
Newcastle Crown Court heard his 41-year-old son Andrew Smith, who had charge of the cash card to pay bills, had moved into the pensioner’s flat and helped himself to his money during the long-term hospital stay.
Smith, of Roker, Sunderland, admitted theft of £3,600 and claims the rest of the missing money was spent on legitimate purchases and payments.
His barrister Andrew Finlay told the court Smith started taking cash and moved into the property after the breakdown of his long-term relationship.
Mr Finlay said: “He was doing what he could for his father, but because of the circumstances which befell him in his life at the time, separation from his partner, his attempts to buy affection for his partner and embark on a self-destructive hedonistic lifestyle, it caused him to take the rest of the money.”
Mr Finlay said Smith now has a shopfitting job and is determined to pay back what he took.
Mr Justice Openshaw said: “The defendant’s father was in hospital and he was vulnerable.
“He had trusted the defendant to manage his financial affairs and the defendant breached that trust by spending his father’s savings.
“Having separated, he attempted to buy affection or curry favour from his estranged wife, unsuccessfully as it turned out and he then sought solace through what he describes as self-destructive hedonistic behaviour in an attempt to eleviate stress and low mood.”
The judge said Smith’s four-month prison sentence could be suspended for two years due to his previous positive character and his genuine remorse.
Smith was ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work and pay £3,600 to his dad in compensation.