Washington woman spared jail after spending her ailing mother's cash

Gillian Jameson was spared jail at Newcastle Crown Court
Gillian Jameson was spared jail at Newcastle Crown Court

A daughter who used almost £15,000 of her ailing mother's cash to build herself a conservatory has been spared jail.

Gillian Jameson spent £14,945 on the home extension, a similar amount on a Land Rover motor and £1,700 on a television using money belonging to Mary Hornsby, who she was looking after.

The 56-year-old also pocketed £18,000 in benefits she was not entitled to by failing to inform Durham County Council of inheritance she received from her mother's estate.

Jameson, of Redshank Close, Ayton, Washington, denied three offences of fraud and one of theft between 2010 and 2013 but was convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court after a trial.

Mr recorder William Lowe QC sentenced Jameson to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with supervision, 240 hours unpaid work and curfew requirements.

The judge told her: "I give you credit for the way you cared for your mother, which must have been gruelling. It involved you working yourself virtually to exhaustion.

"I do not think the benefit to the public would be significant at all if I ordered you to serve the sentence today."

Lee Fish, defending, said Jameson has worked hard all of her life and has never been in any trouble before.

Mr Fish said: "She devoted considerable time to caring for her mother.

"It is not a case where her mother suffered at all. In fact, the evidence points the opposite way.

"This lady provided her mother with a suitably happy home life and it is quite clear that Mrs Hornsby's last three years on this earth were relatively happy."

Mr Fish said Jameson was able to provide references to her usually positive character.

He added: "She has lost her good name forever in a spectacular way.

"She may well have been convicted of doing something bad but that does not make her a bad person."

Mr Fish urged the judge to suspend the inevitable prison term as an act of "mercy".

Jameson will now be pursued by prosecutors under the Proceeds of Crime Act which means any assets she has may be seized.