A MAN who stole thousands of pounds from his sick elderly mother to bring a Ghanaian woman to the UK faces jail.

Robin Brierley, of Hankinson Road in Bournemouth, took almost £8,000 from his mother – who suffers with dementia and lives in a care home – only to find that he had fallen victim to an internet scam.

At Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court the 59-year-old admitted a single count of fraud by abuse of position after stealing almost all of Sylvia Brierley’s life savings from her account.

Prosecuting, Lisa Dytham said Mrs Brierley is 87, and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

The defendant’s brother, Philip, with whom he shares power of attorney, became suspicious of his activities and checked Mrs Brierley’s account at HSBC before realising £7,800 was missing, the prosecutor said.

“Following a marriage split, he became lonely and started using the internet to meet ladies,” Ms Dytham said.

“He met a lady in Ghana and sent her money for a visa and airfare, but she never came over to the UK. He was told by friends he had been scammed.”

A victim impact statement written by the defendant’s brother told of the “devastating effect” of the theft.

“My mother struggled all of her life with very little money, but would never consider doing something dishonest to get by,” he said, adding that her life savings totalled around £8,000.

Brierley’s brother said he felt “sick to the stomach” when he thought of the deception.

“It wasn’t a life or death situation – it was pure greed,” he said.

“He stole it to fund a holiday to Brazil and fly in a partner from abroad.”

Mitigating, Mark Proctor said Brierley was “at a very low point in his life”.

“He has always had the intention to repay the money taken,” he said.

But District Judge Stephen Nicholls told the defendant that he must be sentenced at crown court as he faces a prison term of more than six months.

“This court’s sentencing powers are not sufficient,” he said.

Brierley will be sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on August 1.