Jail for Bradford surveyor who stole £70,000 from sick mother

Steven Darvill arriving at Bradford Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Steven Darvill arriving at Bradford Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A GREEDY surveyor who stole a five-figure sum from his elderly mother suffering from Alzheimer’s hung his head in shame as a judge in Bradford branded him “despicable”.

Darvill, 56, was today after a court heard he stole from the accounts of Mrs Riley - who had initially been financially well off - leaving her practically penniless and with the bailiffs knocking on her door.

Mrs Riley had lived with her cousin Margaret Baxter at her home in Bradford, and acted as her carer before she became ill with Alzheimer’s and the roles reversed.

Bradford Crown Court heard Darvill had been entrusted by his brother Leslie, who lives in Northamptonshire, to take care of their mother.

But in reality Darvill rarely visited the old lady, did not buy her clothes or take her out, and on one occasion did not visit following a fire at her home.

Instead he stole £69,163 from her life savings to line his own pockets, then lied to police when confronted.

The original figure was totalled at £101,377.87 but Darvill pleaded guilty to the above sum.

Peter Hampton, prosecuting, said Mr Darvill “became aware his mother was ill” in 2009, the same year he lost his job.

“The defendant offered to act as carer for his mother. Leslie Darvill took his brother at his word and trusted him to safeguard her affairs.”

Mr Hampton said Mrs Riley’s neighbour Alison Naylor, who had experience in caring for the elderly, looked after both ladies but became aware that the defendant rarely visited.

He said: “His actions did not reflect his duties. She saw him once every two to three months.

“It became clear that [Mrs Riley] was short of money. There were occasions where she went to a day centre and could not afford the meals there.”

Mr Hampton said Darvill’s callous thefts became evident in 2014 when bailiffs came knocking on Mrs Riley’s door.

Darvill was later arrested and questioned by police, but denied unlawfully stealing his mother’s money.

He later admitted the thefts on the day the case went to trial last month.

Andrew Walker, for Darvill said client had been made redundant in 2009 and a year later separated from his wife.

Sentencing Darvill to two years and seven months in prison, Judge Jonathon Rose told him he was sickened by his behaviour and that he had “not cared” for his elderly mother.

He said: “Every time you went to the bank you decided you would offend again. Any theft is a reprehensible act, but a thief who steals from his mother is disgraceful.”