A CONWOMAN is behind bars for 15 months, after stealing the £20,000 life savings of a 94-year old spinster.
The elderly victim who was duped by Rawmarsh woman Gillian Stones died at the end of last year, before the case got to court, and so never saw justice served.
Gillian Stones, 53, collapsed and was helped from the dock by prison warders after a judge handed her the jail term for her ‘serious dishonesty’.
Stones, of Blyth Avenue, Rawmarsh, befriended Mary Bagnall when she was in her 70s, and was later awarded the pensioner’s power of attorney, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
But the alarm was raised when Rotherham Council’S social services staff noticed Miss Bagnall’s care home fees had gone unpaid for some time.
Carl Fitch, prosecuting, said the spinster, who lived at Clifton, Rotherham, had no close family. She became friends with Stones who would visit her three or four times a week. Stones and Robert Simnall, in his 60s, would help Miss Bagnall with her shopping and finances, but over time the pensioner’s health deteriorated and she moved into Clifton Meadows nursing home.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that Miss Bagnall gave Stones’ son £8,500 from the sale of her old home because he was in financial trouble, and she gave Stones herself £4,500 to buy a car.
Another £50 went towards the cost of a driver’s licence for Stones’ 21-year-old student daughter.
When Mr Simnall fell ill, Stones collected Miss Bagnall’s pension and paid her bills and in October 2008 was given full power of attorney for the pensioner.
By the time police had become involved, Miss Bagnall was 94, and she died in October last year.
Stones admitted keeping money without Miss Bagnall’s knowledge from December 2007 to June 2011. She told the police: “Everything just escalated and got out of hand.”
Stones admitted fraud by abuse of position.
Robert Smith, defending, said Stones had had no experience in financial affairs but fulfilled the role for Miss Bagnall until she was stopped from visiting her.
She admitted she kept no records and that ‘there was a point when she was taking money that wasn’t authorised’.
Judge Alan Goldsack QC said: “You have stolen about £20,000 of her money for you and your family’s benefit. That is serious dishonesty.”