When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Blandford couple deny theft from aunt
A COUPLE plundered an elderly relative’s bank acc-ounts after she became too ill to manage her own financial affairs, a court was told.
Jane White, 57, and her husband Michael White, 61, pictured right, from Berkley Road, Pimperne, near Blandford , deny stealing £54,722 from Jane’s aunt Olive Cutler, between June 1, 2006, and January 31, 2011.
Prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court, Carolyn Branford-Wood told jurors how widowed Mrs Cutler, who is in her late 80s and suffers from Alzheimers, is a resident at a North Dorset care home.
Ms Branford-Wood added: “Following her husband’s death in early 2003 Mrs Cutler moved in to live with her niece and her husband.
“The following year Mr White was given power of attorney by Mrs Cutler, which enabled him to deal with her affairs and sign cheques.
“After spending a few weeks in hospital in 2006 Mrs Cutler moved into a residential care home.”
Ms Branford-Wood said the first 12 weeks of Mrs Cutler’s care had been funded by Dorset County Council, adding: “Later that year her property was sold and funds from that sale were put into an account and used to pay the care home fees.”
The court heard how an investigation had been launched after Mr White had made an application to DCC for financial assistance for Mrs Cutler in 2010.
“Her bank statements showed that cheques had been written on a fairly regular basis to him for large sums.”
When quizzed about the transactions, Mr White said he and his wife had cared for Mrs Cutler for several years and used the money after their own had run out, the court was told.
Mrs Cutler’s mental health has deteriorated so much she will not be able to give evidence in court and is unaware her home has been sold with just over £146,000 deposited into her account.
Ms Branford-Wood added: “Mr White made withdrawals for household bills. The issue will be whether they were acting dishonestly. The Crown’s case is that when they say they were reimbursing themselves that was simply an excuse.”
The case continues.