Son Jailed For Stealing £164,000 From Mum, 83
PUBLISHED: 16:04 02 March 2011
"It is of particular sadness to see a man who has served his country so well, and for so many years, standing in a crown court for offences of dishonesty."
AN RAF technician has been jailed for two years for stealing his mum’s life savings.
Denis Smith, of Clay Way, Ely, frittered away £164,000 of the 83-year-old’s inheritance while she was recoving from a stroke in a Littleport nursing home.
The 59-year-old gained total control over funds and proceeded to raid the elderly woman’s account for the next five years, paying £40,000 towards his son’s education and £4,000 to his daughter.
Another £5,000 was spent to buy comforts for Mrs Smith while she stayed at The Grange but the rest was used to top up his annual income of between £30,000 and £40,000 per year.
“It meant the family didn’t have to do any budgeting or live within their means,” Georgina Gibbs told Cambridge Crown Court.
Irene Smith was living in Carlisle when she had a stroke in 2004 and when Cumbria County Council made enquiries about her ability to pay for her social care, the defendant lied and told them he was ill in an attempt to put off answering questions.
Judge Anthony Bate said the stolen money was a “dramatic supplement” to Smith’s income.
He said it was his “public duty” to impose an immediate jail term even though the defendant is the sole carer for his wheelchair-bound 61-year-old wife, who suffers from chronic back problems.
“No other sentence is appropriate for such a breach of trust over a sustained period of time,” Judge Bate said.
“It is of particular sadness to see a man who has served his country so well, and for so many years, standing in a crown court for offences of dishonesty.”
Smith last served as a civil engineer at RAF Wyton, working on the Tornado F3 fighter jets and GR bombers.
“This is not a case where this family have been buying expensive jewellery or expensive cars or going to Michelin-stared restaurants,” Miss Gibbs said in mitigation.
“The money was being spent to make life easier.”
She added that the burden of Irene Smith’s care had fallen solely on the defendant.
He was “devoted” to looking after her, driving up to her Carlisle home every other weekend before she was moved to East Cambridgeshire, sh