Man stole mother's £16k care home fees

Norwich Crown Court

Martyn Gardner has been sentenced at Norwich Crown Court after he admitted a £16k fraud - Credit: Archant

A man stole more than £16,000 of his mother's care home fees, leaving her unable to have her hair cut or her toenails done, a court heard.

Martyn Gardner, 41, was granted power of attorney for his mother in 2017, a year after she went into the home.

Norwich Crown Court heard that under the arrangement Gardner was supposed to pay £148 a week to cover the fees for the 73-year-old, but stopped paying the cash.

John Morgans, prosecuting, said Gardner had taken a total of £16,985.40 from his mother between July 18, 2017, and November 10, 2020.

He said letters were sent out to Gardner, which he ignored.

At certain times some money was paid, but debts began to build up.

Of the money taken Mr Morgans said around £4,000 was spent in supermarkets, £1,000 on petrol and £316 on restaurant bills.

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The court was told Gardner had since paid back more than £2,300, meaning the actual loss was £14,685.

An impact statement heard the victim lost out on getting her hair and toenails done as a result. The statement said that her toenails had got so long it became painful for her to walk.

Gardner, of Silfield Road, Wymondham, appeared in court on Thursday (June 9) to be sentenced having previously admitted fraud by abuse of position.

Recorder John Hardy said the offence was "despicable and mean in the extreme".

He added: "This kind of offending impacts not only the people who are the direct victims of it but society as a whole".

Recorder Hardy added: "It was a case of a toss up between you and your mother and you decided it was you who would benefit."

Gardner was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years by Recorder Hardy, who accepted the defendant was of previous good character and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Lori Tucker, mitigating, said the defendant, who deserved full credit for his plea, accepted "he was taking money from his mother's account to which he was not entitled".

She said he accepted it was a "mean, despicable offence" but got into debt after losing his job as a warehouseman and then two other jobs soon after.

Miss Tucker said he had since found work, has paid back money and is saving money in order to repay his mother, who he continues to visit each week.