Online Halifax gambler who stole £430,000 inheritance to pay back just £21,000

Darren Gledhill stole inheritance money from his grandmother
Darren Gledhill stole inheritance money from his grandmother

Relatives of a deceased Calderdale pensioner whose inheritance was blown on gambling by her thieving grandson are set to get compensation of just £7000 each.

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

Frugal grandmother Sandra Gledhill had amassed life savings of more than £430,000, but every last penny was taken by her gambling addict grandson Darren while she was in a Halifax care home suffering from vascular dementia.

Mrs Gledhill, who was in her 70s, died in January and her three surviving children were left with no inheritance because of Gledhill's sickening crime.

In June Gledhill, 30, of Hebble Gardens, Halifax, was jailed for 28 months by a judge at Bradford Crown Court after he admitted using 350 bank transfers to steal the money from his ailing relative.

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

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

After his arrest Gledhill said the vast majority of the stolen money went into an online gambling addiction.

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At his sentence hearing barrister Abigail Langford, for Gledhill, conceded that he would never be able to repay the money he had stolen and today the court heard that his only available asset was the £21,000 equity in his home which had now been repossessed by the bank.

Mr Adams asked the Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC to make an order that the money should be repaid by Gledhill within three months and that the three beneficiaries in Mrs Gledhill's will should each receive £7000 in compensation.

Gledhill, who was brought to court from custody for the Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, faces an extra six months in prison if the compensation money isn't paid back.

Miss Langford told the judge when Gledhill was jailed that 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."

Judge Durham Hall 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.