Gambler who stole more than £7,000 from his mother's savings avoids jail

A man who stole over £7,000 from his own mother to feed a gambling habit has avoided jailed.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 6:48 pm

Dad-of-two Jonathan Garland used his 69-year-old mother's bank card to withdraw money from her life savings.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 39-year-old had betrayed his mother's trust after she had given him permission to use the card to buy essentials when he was short of money.

Garland’s mother gave a statement saying she felt that he son takes advantage of her.

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But the crown court was told that Garland is ‘thoroughly ashamed of his conduct’ at the time.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said that between November 2018 and January 2019 Garland used the card to gamble online and ran up a debt of £7,875.

Mr Pallister said "He abused the trust his mother had placed in him.

"It does appear that his mother is fairly vulnerable, she does rely on carers to help her out."

He said that when she realised her bank balance had gone to nothing, she was encouraged by social services to contact the police.

Garland was arrested in April 2019 and admitted what he had done and said "he had been suffering from depression and had been drinking a lot."

Mr Pallister read her victim impact statement to the court in which she said she was "devastated".

She said: "I think I am too soft with Jonathan and he takes advantage of me.

"This has caused me anxiety."

Andrew Walker, defending, asked the judge to consider a suspended sentence and pointed out that the trust between mother and son was different to that between solicitor and client, for example, where it is a paid position.

Mr Walker said: "The defendant is rightly thoroughly ashamed of his conduct here.

"Compulsive gambling, if this is what this was, is a condition that the defendant recognises generates very little sympathy in the minds of others."

He said the theft took place at a time when Garland was deeply depressed and was drinking a lot having broken up with his partner of ten years, with whom he has two children, in 2017.

He said: "It was a perfect storm of conditions at the period of time between November 2018 and January last year."

Garland, of Morris Terrace, Houghton, pleaded guilty to theft at an earlier hearing.

Judge Sarah Mallett sentenced Garland to 14 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Judge Mallett said: "I am told and I assume it is right, and certain it should be right, that you are thoroughly ashamed of your conduct.

"Your drinking was out of hand at the time and you do regard that money as a debt but not one that you are presently able to repay.

"You hope to rebuild a relationship with your mother and repay the money."

Judge Mallett also made a 12-month rehabilitation requirement order, ordered Garland to complete 200 hours unpaid work and made him subject to an electronically monitored curfew for four months.