Son gambled away mother's life savings and left her her with just 13p

A Wearside mum has revealed her horror and distress at finding her son had gambled away thousands of pounds of her life savings after she moved into a care home – leaving her with just 13p.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 10:08 am

In a victim statement read at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, Rosalind Garland, 69, said she had been left unable to afford food or drink after Jonathan Garland helped himself to £7,875 of her cash.

The court heard Garland, 38, of Morris Terrace, Houghton, and formerly of Forster Avenue, Merton, Seaham, took the money in just six weeks, having been trusted with her bank card and pin number.

She had permitted him to dip into her savings account to help him out, but had put a ban on her money being used for gambling, the court was told.

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South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Garland will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court next month after District Judge Kathryn Meek said she wanted the higher court, which has greater sentencing powers, to deal with the case.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mrs Garland stated: “This is causing me anxiety and I don’t want to cause Jonathan any problems. He has left me penniless with no money to eat or drink.

“In the last couple of years, he has intimidated me. I think that I’m too soft with Jonathan and he has taken advantage of me.

“I had thousands of pounds in my bank account and didn’t worry about money but now I do worry.”

Prosecutor Clare Irving told the court Mrs Garland had £18,508 in her account in November 2018, a sum which was reduced to just 13p by January 2019, of which her son admitted taking almost half.

She said: “It’s domestic abuse, the victim is the defendant’s mother who is in sheltered accommodation. She paid money into her account when she sold her home.

“When she last saw her balance, it was only 13p. She reported this to the police.

“She told them that he had her bank card and pin but may have been gambling. She wanted to help her son out but no gambling money.

“The defendant was interviewed and said that he didn’t realise it had got out of hand and that he had been drinking a lot.”

Neil Hodgson, defending, said Garland’s life had fallen apart when a relationship ended, followed by a conviction for assault and the loss of his job as a roofer.

He added: “He’s ashamed of what he’s done, he shouldn’t have done it. The money has been spent on gambling, it’s £7,800.

“He moved in with his mum. His life seems to have gone downhill about two-and-a-half or three years ago.

“He started to drink too much and took substances and was not behaving very well, he was depressed, and he started to gamble.

“Since this came to light, he’s had no contact with mum, he knows that he will have to repay. He has a new partner and wants to get back into work.”

The court heard Garland’s sister, who also had access to Mrs Garland’s bank account, was not involved in the court case, and that a second son had no contact with the family.

Garland, who admitted theft of the money between November 25, 2018 and January 4, 2019, will be sentenced on Monday, February 3.