A 72-year-old man has been jailed for 14 months after he admitted stealing £65,000 from his elderly mother when he was supposed to be caring for her and looking after her money.
A court heard that frail 94-year-old Kathleen Ackroyd died a few weeks after police officers visited the home they shared in Norland near Halifax and she told them that her son Stephen had control of her finances, but didn't have permission to use her money for himself.
Following the police visit in October 2016 an investigation was launched into their bank accounts and before her death Mrs Ackroyd made a statement in which she said her son was only allowed to use her money for bills and food.
"At the time she had thought there was still a substantial amount of money in her account and she was shocked to hear from the police that this was not the case," prosecutor Nicholas Askins told Bradford Crown Court.
Mr Askins said it was impossible to put a precise figure on the amount misappropriated by Ackroyd, but his guilty plea to theft charge was on the basis he had stolen £65,000 from his mother over a period of months between 2007 and 2008.
During his police interview Ackroyd, of Victor Road, Bradford, accepted managing his mother's finances, but claimed any withdrawals made by him were with her permission and for living expenses.
Barrister Peter Hampton, for Ackroyd, submitted that the offending arose out of "financial mismanagement" rather than being deliberate from the outset.
Recorder Thomas Moran said Ackroyd was a man with no previous convictions and he had read references which had been submitted in support of him.
The judge said it remained a mystery as to what the defendant spent the £65,000 on and he appeared unwilling or unable to say where it had gone.
"She was well enough to give a witness statement but sadly she died a few weeks later after she had been taken to spend the remaining weeks of her life in a care home," said the judge.
Recorder Moran said the complainant had suffered emotional distress after finding out she had virtually no money left.
"She therefore spent the last few weeks of her life knowing that her son had used her in that way," he added.
Mr Hampton had submitted that any prison sentence could be suspended, but the judge decided that the 14-month jail had to be served immediately.
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