Thief who stole £54,000 from 96-year-old uncle spared jail

A thief stole more than £54,000 from her 96-year-old uncle in Tansley after being put in charge of his finances when he moved into a care home.

Julie Bonner spent the cash on luxuries such as a car, a caravan and hotel stays in what a judge called a ‘significant breach of her responsibilities’.

Derby Crown Court.

Derby Crown Court.

Derby Crown Court heard how the 51-year-old moved in with her relative and was granted power of attorney, meaning that she had control over his bank accounts and savings.

As such, she was supposed to register this with the relevant authorities but neglected to do so and started siphoning cash from his accounts.

Then, after he moved into the care home, she continued to steal the money.

Handing Bonner a suspended jail sentence, Judge Jonathan Bennett described it as ‘a significant breach of your responsibilities’.

“He was a vulnerable man who you knew could not do anything about it,” the judge told Bonner.

Stuart Lody, prosecuting, said the offending took place between November 2015 and July 2017.

He said Bonner moved in with her uncle at his address in The Knoll, Tansley, but as his health deteriorated he was moved to a care home.

Mr Lody said: “She was granted power of attorney and was supposed to register this with the relevant financial authorities but failed to do so.

“She had access to his bank accounts and started taking the money, spending some of it on luxuries which she has simply not refunded.”

A Derbyshire police spokesman later confirmed that the ‘luxuries’ included a caravan, a car, hotel stays and Christmas gifts.

Mr Lody said the offence came to light when social services ‘carrying out due diligence’ discovered that £15,000 in payments was outstanding to the care home.

Bonner, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to theft of £54,334.16.

The hearing was told she has a sister in Florida who was due to benefit from the uncle’s inheritance.

After being told by Judge Bennett he was considering handing Bonner a suspended jail term, Justin Ablott, her barrister, said he had little to say in her mitigation.

Judge Bennett handed Bonner an 18-month jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered that she carry out 100 hours unpaid work.

He also handed her a curfew confining her to her home address from 8.30pm to 6am each night until March 8, 2019.

He said: “It is your sister that is going to miss out because of your greed.”