Woman is jailed over £20,000 theft from pensioner

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A WOMAN who systematically robbed a frail 94-year-old spinster of her £20,000 life savings collapsed in court as she was jailed for 15 months.

Gillian Stones, 53, had to be helped from the dock by prison warders as a judge told her: “This is serious dishonesty.”

Sheffield Crown Court heard Stones befriended Mary Bagnall when she was in her 70s and later assumed power of attorney over the pensioner’s affairs.

Her thieving came to light when Rotherham Council’s social services department realised care home fees for Miss Bagnall had not been paid for a substantial period.

Carl Fitch, prosecuting, said the spinster, who had no close family, lived at Clifton, Rotherham, and became close friends with Stones who visited her three or four times a week.

As the pensioner’s health had deteriorated she moved into nearby Clifton Meadows nursing home.

Mr Fitch said: “The defendant would collect Miss Bagnall’s pension every fortnight and Stones would take her shopping to the home.

“From time to time Miss Bagnall would assist the defendant if she was struggling financially.”

By the time the police became involved, Miss Bagnall was 94 and she died in October last year without seeing justice done.

Stones, of Blyth Avenue, Rawmarsh, Rotherham, admitted two offences of fraud by abuse of position.

Robert Smith, mitigating, said Stones was now living in rented accommodation on benefits.

She kept no accounts or records and “there was a point when she was taking money that wasn’t authorised”.

She did help the old lady but was now “totally ashamed” of what she had done.

Judge Alan Goldsack accepted Stones did “kind things” for Miss Bagnall but added: “You can’t have a much higher position of trust than being appointed to look after someone else’s affairs.

“She did allow you to use some of her money but you have finally admitted that you have stolen about £20,000 of her money.”

He said she had not been dishonest from the outset but it was “quite impossible” to avoid giving her an immediate jail term.