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20 April 2015, 15:43
A South Shields man who stole more than £50,000 from his dying mother's bank accountshas been put behind bars.
David Rylance spent the money on online gambling, a holiday, cinema tickets, iTunes vouchers and everyday living expenses.
When Margaret Rylance, who suffered from alzheimers, realised her money seemed to be going missing, her concerns were put down to being symptoms of her disease.
A £13,000 fee when the pensioner was moved into a care home in January 2013 had to be met by the local authority because the balance of bank account had got so low due to her son's spending.
Newcastle Crown Court heard one of the accounts of Mrs Rylance held £1,000 at the time of her death in July 2013.
Her son continued to access the cash until the balance was zero.
The 47-year-old, of Oxford Street, South Shields, admitted theft and fraud involving £52,000 and was jailed for 27 months.
Judge Penny Moreland told him:
"Your mother had had anxieties in the last years of her life that her money was going missing but, because of her illness, that was not taken seriously.
"This was a gross breach of trust."
"It is hard to imagine someone more vulnerable than an elderly lady with alzheimers, unable to protect herself from you accessing her accounts and taking what you wanted.
"You simply treated her money as your own."
The court heard Rylance was in charge of an appointee account set up at Lloyds Bank, which held his mother's cash after her diagnosis with alzheimers disease in 2009.
Prosecutor Tim Gittins told the court:
"It is clear, very soon after he opened the account, he began to use the monies for his own purposes."
Mr Gittinins said Rylance would transfer large sums of cash from the account into his own, which he used for online gambling.
He would also place bets on gambling sites directly from the appointee account.
Mr Gittins said:
"The amounts of monies varied from a couple of hundred pounds to £8,000 in one particular month in June 2010."
"There were, in fact, substantial wins over that period as well."
The court heard Rylance also had access to his mum's regular banks accounts, which he also pilfered.
Mr Gittins said the crimes have had a devastating impact on Rylance's sister Lesley Wilson.
"She said it was a physical blow to find out the truth of it."
"She describes her mother and father had very little when they started out and had built up what they had by working very hard."
"She was devastated to find out the monies had been spent in the way they had by the defendant."
"There had been concerns expressed prior to her death by Mrs Rylance herself about monies going missing and the like. To a certain extent it was put down to her deteriorating condition."
Prosecutors accept Rylance's claim that some of the cash was used for his mother's benefit.
Vic Laffey, defending, said Rylance feels "shame and remorse" for what he did.
Mr Laffey said;
"He tried to get himself out of a hole when all he achieved was to dig himself further in."
"He was drowning in obligations."
"He was in the grip of quite significant financial problems and in particular a significant and debilitating gambling addiction."
The court heard Rylance will receive none of his mother's remaining estate, which will be divided between his siblings.