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21 February 2015, 07:35
A Norfolk man has escaped a jail term after defrauding and neglecting his 98 year old mother.
Brian Matthews, 75 (16.04.39) of Yarmouth Road, Broome, Norfolk was found guilty on Friday, 16 January of two counts of fraud by abuse of position and one count of wilful neglect under s44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
On Friday, 20 February, he received a suspended two year prison sentence at Snaresbrook Crown Court. He was ordered to pay £20,000 compensation and £5,000 in court costs in addition to being given a curfew to remain at his home address between 19:00hrs and 06:00hrs for six months.
Detectives from Havering were contacted in early 2013 by the victim's niece who had visited the family home in Cranham and discovered her aunt living in squalid conditions. The central heating had been cut off and her aunt - who suffers from dementia - had been left without hot water. Plants had even grown through the window frames causing a continuous draught and there was barely any food in the house.
Due to deterioration in the victim's health, the victim's niece and the social services arranged for her to be moved into a nursing home without Matthews being made aware for fear of him objecting to the plans.
In April 2013, Havering Council successfully applied to the Court of Protection and were granted 'deputyship' over the victim's financial affairs. Shortly after this, Matthews made a fraudulent attempt to sell her home.
The investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service subsequently discovered that between January 2010 and April 2013, Matthews - who had power of attorney - made regular transfers from her account totalling £18,338.
He also claimed his mother's state pension for that period of time totalling £20,879.18.
Matthews was arrested in January 2014 and charged in May 2014 with fraud by abuse of position and wilful neglect under the Mental Capacity Act.
Detective Constable Ed Gooderson, of Havering police, said: "This conviction is the culmination of nearly two years of investigation by police with the assistance of partnership agencies.
"Mrs Winifred Matthews was defrauded of her hard earned pension money and left in awful conditions by her unscrupulous son who took advantage of the fact that she was suffering from dementia. This, of course made her exploitation all the more cruel.
"This case highlights that the Met will vigorously pursue those who seek to abuse the vulnerable within our communities."