Sunderland man jailed after stealing £126k from his own mother

He appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.
He appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.

A man who defrauded his elderly mother out of £126,000 over a period of seven years has been jailed.

David Webster was granted power over his mother's property and finances after she realised she was suffering from dementia and was starting to "lose her mental capacity".

Between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2015, the 60-year-old stole around £1,000 a month from his mother's pension and benefit packets until she died in January of last year.

Websters' fraudulent operations began to unravel when Washington Lodge Care Home, which was looking after his mother, requested money owed for her care.

In an attempt to avoid paying the fee, Webster, of Margaret Street, Sunderland, had the £58,000 from the sale of his mothers' home transferred into his own bank account.

He was only caught out when Sunderland Council requested access to her accounts to check why the amount had not been paid.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court how Webster admitted to his brother that he "had been freely spending their mothers money" and his brother eventually phoned the police.

He said: "His brother Ray was forced to apply to take control of their mothers' finances to stop David from spending anymore money.

"During the time before his detection he spent the money on himself, paying a £5,000 deposit on a brand new Audi A4.

"He accepts that he took the money for himself and he knew it was contrary to the trust that his mother had put in him."

The court heard how Webster cooperated fully with police and admitted responsibility for his mother's loss of money during interviews and pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud at the earliest opportunity.

A statement read out by the Probation Service told how Webster had no addiction problems, was not a drinker or involved in drug taking and had no relevant convictions that would lead him to act like this.

Vic Laffey, mitigating, told how the defendant has been going through a difficult period in his life after the loss of both his wife and then his mother years later.

He said: "His wife contracted cancer in 2007, and died in 2010, shortly after he began his offending, his mother then died in January 2015.

"He was not able to grieve the death of his wife, to whom he had been married to for almost 30 years because he had to look after his mother.

"His brother and sister chose him to be attorney for his mother's finances as his brother was busy with work and his sister lived in Portsmouth. He did not want the responsibility.

Mr Laffey told how the ex-G4S worker had not offended for almost 55 years of his life and has a family that he needs to support.

He told the court: "He has lost his mother and his wife, but he still has a son and three granddaughters that need his support.

"If he is jailed his grandchildren will lose a grandad.

"I can say, without any concern, that he will not trouble this court with his presence ever again."

Jailing Webster for two and a half years, Recorder Sarah Mallett said: "Your mother trusted you with her finances.

"You had access to her pension and her benefits, along with the funds from selling her house.

"You did not want responsibility but you took it. You took the money for yourself and as a result you took money away from your mother's beneficiaries."