A woman has pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of pounds from a disabled pensioner.
Victoria Thornton, 41, from Brackenhill Close, Brayton, near Selby, appeared at Teesside Crown Court today (23 July 2012) charged with two counts of theft.
Thornton admitted to preying on an 82-year-old man from Hensall who she had befriended.
As well as helping with housework and errands, she also assisted the man with banking transactions as he is visually impaired and could no longer operate cash machines.
A North Yorkshire Police investigation was launched in October 2010 when a family member noticed a substantial amount of money was missing from the victim’s bank account.
A painstaking inquiry, led by PC Tony Robertson of the Selby Rural Safer Neighbourhood Team and supported by the force’s Financial Investigation Unit, showed that Thornton had systematically drawn money from the account between May 2009 and May 2010.
This totalled £4,840 but it is believed a similar amount of cash was also stolen.
Following the admission of guilt at court, PC Robertson said:
This was the most despicable and callous crime I’ve ever come across.
The way Thornton manipulated and took advantage of a disabled and vulnerable elderly man was truly appalling. Over a period of a year she literally emptied his bank account of his life savings.
It reached a point where household bills were going unpaid, bailiffs were knocking on the victim’s front door and his life insurance policy was cancelled, meaning this poor man was desperately worried that the cost of his own funeral was no longer covered.
It was only after the intervention of North Yorkshire Police and understanding from the company that his life insurance policy was reinstated.
PC Roberston added:
After an almost two-year investigation, it is very satisfying that Thornton has been made to face the consequences of her dreadful actions.
I just hope the outcome at court, and the sentencing to follow in September, provides a measure of comfort to the victim and his family.
Thornton is due to be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on 25 September 2012.