Online gambler jailed for stealing his own grandmother’s life savings of more than £430,000

Darren Gledhill
Darren Gledhill

A thieving grandson from Halifax who stole every last penny of his own grandmother’s life savings has been jailed for more than two years.

Online gambler Darren Gledhill, 30, cleaned out his elderly gran’s account, which had totalled more than £430,000, leaving her three children with no inheritance following her death in January.

Bradford Crown Court heard how Gledhill, who worked as a manager for Sainsbury’s, set up online banking for Sandra Gledhill while she was still able to live at home.

Even during that period Gledhill stole nearly £43,500 from her account, but prosecutor Philip Adams said the balance of around £390,000 was taken after his grandmother was moved into a Halifax care home in June 2015 suffering from vascular dementia.

Gledhill’s offending came to light after the care home realised that Mrs Gledhill, who was in her 70s, was over £40,000 in arrears in respect of her fees.

“The investigating police officer obtained a production order to obtain her bank account details and that revealed the scale of this offending,” said Mr Adams.

Between June 2014 and November 2017 Gledhill stole a total of £434,231 by making 350 bank transfers into his own account.

Mr Adams said the largest transfer was £10,200, but the lowest was the final transfer in November last year for just £1.20.

Gledhill, of Hebble Gardens, Halifax, pleaded guilty to the theft charge in April and wept in the dock as the details of his offending were outlined in court.

After his arrest Gledhill admitted that the vast majority of the stolen money had been spent on gambling.

Mr Adams said Mrs Gledhill’s three surviving children would have had the money shared equally between them following her death.

Her daughter Lisa, who lives in Australia, said in a victim impact statement that she was shocked by what had happened because Gledhill was a trusted family member.

The court heard that Mrs Gledhill was regarded as being rather frugal and she was proud of the defendant who was her only grandson.

Barrister Abigail Langford, for Gledhill, said the catalyst for the offending was gambling which began at a time when her client was working away from home a lot and staying in hotels.

“It was an online gambling addiction,” she said.

She said Gledhill was thoroughly ashamed and consumed with guilt over his offending.

“He will never be able to repay the money he took,” she conceded.

“It causes him great distress now in the cold light of day.

“He was clearly in the grip of a downward spiral of depression at the time of the commission of these offences, sadly unrecognised by him.”

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC was handed references and letters of support for Gledhill, who had no previous convictions, but he rejected the submission that his 28-month jail sentence could be suspended.

“You were a prodigious gambler and I suspect, as there is nothing left, a prodigious loser,” the judge told a tearful Gledhill.

He said the emotional distress caused by Gledhill was “beyond calculation” and he had wiped his grandmother’s account clean.

Judge Durham Hall told Gledhill that he had taken every penny that his grandmother had amassed over a long, frugal and hard-working life and he had also robbed her three children who were to be her beneficiaries.