'DEVIOUS' FRAUDSTER FLEECED DEMENTIA SUFFERING AUNT OUT OF £250,000
An 83-year-old dementia sufferer was fleeced out of £250,000 by a "devious" nephew, who left her too poor to even buy a cup of coffee.
Simon Joseph Tipper (54) blew most of it gambling online, but also treated himself to holidays, a new car, a kitchen and a bathroom, Leicester Crown Court was told. He abused his position when entrusted with a power of attorney over his aunt Kathleen Brightmore's finances, Tipper of Clifford Road, Loughborough, admitted defrauding the pensioner out of all her money, including her savings, pension and the proceeds of two house sales, between November 2011 and April 2014. He was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Sentencing, Judge Simon Hammond said: "It was a gross betrayal of the trust put in him by his aunt who very sadly suffers from dementia. He completely fleeced her of her money in a devious, scheming, greedy and a callous way. I'm told she was very distressed to hear she was in arrears at her care home and was left with no money for clothing, social activities or even a coffee when out in the community."
Alan Murphy, prosecuting, said when Miss Brightmore moved from her home in Ribblesdale Avenue, in Hinckley, into Lutterworth Country House care home, in 2012, the defendant made arrangements to pay £500 a week from the £102,000 sale of her house to cover the cost of her care. He only ever paid £2,000 and when £34,000 of arrears built he avoided the care home and stopped visiting his aunt. Social services were contacted. Tipper's power of attorney was revoked and a police inquiry followed. By then it was too late and all her assets, including the £108,500 proceeds of the sale of another property she owned, in Burbage, were gone.
A social worker wrote a victim impact statement on her behalf, stating: "She never had any money for essential items and was reluctant to partake in social activities. It was apparent she required new clothes and couldn't even afford a coffee when out."
The local authority took over responsibility for paying the care home fees and she was given a personal needs allowance to cover basics items. In all Tipper took £249,666, of which he gambled away £198,000.
Mr Murphy said: "None of the money (other than £2,000 care home fees) was spent on her and instead he spent it on himself on holidays, utility bills and day to day expenses. He's spent all the money and has no assets," said Mr Murphy.
Victoria Rose, mitigating, said Tipper had no previous convictions. She said: "If you turn the clock back four years he was a very different man and wouldn't have been before the court." He was a former warehouse manager and a charity fundraiser, who married in 2005. His mother sent him to check on her sister, Miss Brightmore, in 2011, and he found her living in squalor eating baked beans out of a can with unpaid bills. Tipper cleaned up her home, personally paid her bills and when it became apparent her dementia deteriorated he was given power of attorney of her finances and he found a care home for her. Miss Rose said Tipper's mother died in January 2012 and he began internet gambling at night to overcome his grief. He was earning £2,200 a month but would gamble it all overnight, and began helping himself to his aunt's money hoping to win enough to pay it back. His marriage broke down, he lost his job, ended up living in a hostel and had attempted suicide. Miss Rose said: "As a result of his offending he's been ostracised by his family, even his step-children completely disowned him." He's very remorseful."
Details from Leicester Mercury