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Pensioner’s life savings taken in ‘despicable’ crime
9:30am Tuesday 24th July 2012 in News
A WOMAN has pleaded guilty to a “despicable” crime, which saw her steal a disabled pensioner’s life savings of almost £10,000.
Victoria Thornton, of Brackenhill Close, Brayton, pleaded guilty to preying on an 82-year-old Hensall man who she had befriended, when she appeared before Teesside Crown Court to face two counts of theft.
The court heard Thornton, 41, helped the visually-impaired man with housework and errands, and banking transactions, including the use of cash machines.
An investigation was launched by North Yorkshire Police in October 2010 after reports from a family member of the pensioner that a substantial amount of money was missing from his account.
The investigation found Thornton had drawn £4,840 from the account in the space of a year, but the force’s Financial Investigation Unit believed a similar amount of cash had also been stolen from the pensioner.
PC Tony Robertson of the Selby Rural Safer Neighbourhood Team led the investigation, and 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.”
Thornton is due to be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on September 25.