A GREAT-grandmother who pilfered thousands of pounds from an elderly relative has walked free from court.

Lynda Dianne Jones, of Heights Road in Poole, repeatedly plundered the account of her husband’s uncle, 80-year-old Charles Williams, after his pension was boosted by £10,000.

He said the extra cash would have made him feel like a “millionaire” as he’d “never had so much money” in his life.

Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting, said Jones had been helping to take care of Mr Williams for around two years before the offence, particularly with his financial affairs.

“Mr Williams had completed a form sent to him by the pensions service because he could have been entitled to extra money,” he said.

“As a result, he was allocated an extra £9,136.45.”

He said around £6,500 of that amount was withdrawn at a rate of £600 a day – the maximum amount allowed to be withdrawn by the Post Office.

Mr Ellacott added that the police were alerted after the 62-year-old mother-of-three confided in her sister.

“Mr Williams was spoken to by police about it and had no knowledge of the theft,” he said.

“He had never seen that much money in his life, he told officers.”

Jones, who attended Bournemouth Crown Court with family, was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years after a judge heard she was of previous good character.

Relatives laughed with relief after discovering she would not go to prison.

She had admitted a charge of stealing from Mr Williams between March 27 and April 29 2011.

Sentencing, Judge Samuel Wiggs said: “I am sure you are desperately ashamed of what you did, stealing from an elderly, vulnerable member of the family.

“I am also sure that you are ashamed that your family and friends know what you have done. You are, however, a person who has never been before the courts before.”

Civilian investigator Nigel Hiscock, who headed the Dorset Police investigation, said: “Police look upon the financial abuse of vulnerable people as very serious.

“We will work with other agencies and families to prosecute.”