A shamed South Yorkshire Police officer has been branded an ‘utter disgrace to the uniform’ after stealing £24,000 from a pensioner.
PC Jonathan Leonard Webb was today beginning a six-year jail term after befriended the 94-year-old widow he met through work and forging a new will in her name, hoping to inherit the bulk of her £400,000 estate.
Today Detective Superintendent Terry Mann, from South Yorkshire Police’s professional standards department, said Webb, aged 45, of Sterndale Road, Millhouses, had brought shame on South Yorkshire Police.
“I know I speak for all his former colleagues when I say he is an utter disgrace to the uniform,” he said.
“He has brought shame to the whole of South Yorkshire Police and the police service nationally.”
Webb stole £24,000 in cash from the widow, as well as a treasured collection of World War Two medals belonging to the father of a man named John Dixon, and £1,000 and $500 from a woman called Lisa Lambert whose home had been burgled.
Alisha Webb, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court Webb preyed on the 94-year-old widow for months, visiting her 30 times and gaining access to her bank accounts so he could withdraw her money while on and off duty.
He used an old typewriter to make a new will which would have led him to inherit her estate - money she’d planned to give to charity.
In a statement she said she had trusted Webb as a friend.
She said she was now scared to trust anybody including her carers, and worried about her future.
Webb’s crimes came to light when colleagues became suspicious he had taken cash from a storage box handed in after a burglary at Ms Lambert’s home in Sheffield.
A formal complaint led to the discovery of the will in his car boot. Other papers relating to the widow, and the box of war medals, were found in his locker.
The offences were committed between June and December 2012, while Webb was a serving response officer. He resigned in May.
Webb, who has been married three times and has five children, was in the force for 20 years.
He admitted five counts of theft, five of fraud and one of forgery.
He told investigators he was £60,000 in debt and paying off previous wives and a social life which had ‘gone beyond his means’.
Some cash was spent on goods from Amazon, including garden tools, mowers, books, a Kindle and a set of four tyres.
Sentencing him, Judge Guy Kearl QC told Webb: “You have brought disgrace upon yourself and upon the police service for whom you served many years, and you have undermined public confidence in our police service.
“As a police officer you are trusted to behave in an honest manner and you have breached that trust.”
He added: “You did not need this money - you had a good, trusted, well paid job. You used the money to support your lifestyle and you took it out of greed.”
Alisha Kaye, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said afterwards: “Instead of upholding the law he systematically broke it, using his position as a police officer to gain the trust of his victims. It is hard to imagine a more contemptible breach of trust.
“Far from being a pillar of society, Webb has proved himself to be a common criminal.”
Neil Bowles from South Yorkshire Police Federation said: “He has disgraced the uniform, let his colleagues and family down, and let down the public.”