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Woman jailed for helping herself to vulnerable brothers pension

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A pensioner who took advantage of her brother’s learning disability to fleece him out of more than £30,000 has been jailed for eight months.

Joan Gillhespey, 70, of Bingley, Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced by Bradford Crown Court last week.

Gillhespey was also ordered to pay £9500 within 28 days or face a further six months in prison.

Court had heard that the defendant had contacted a pension company, claiming to be writing on behalf of her younger brother Paul, who suffered with learning difficulties and epilepsy.

Speaking after the sentencing, Det Sgt Paul Stead, of the Bradford district safeguarding unit, said: “Gillhespey was supposed to care for her brother and help with his finances, but she took advantage of his lack of financial capacity to claim and spend his pension like it was her own.

“This was a shocking abuse of trust and we hope the sentence she has received will be of some comfort to him.

“The Bradford district safeguarding unit is committed to protecting vulnerable people, and those who are found to have committed crimes against them will be dealt with at court.”

Recorder Kate Tulk conceded that the Gillhespey had never been in trouble before, but in this case she had deliberately targeted her sibling over a sustained period of time.

Sentences vary depending on the severity of the offence, but all fraud is taken seriously by the courts and prison sentences can be imposed. With this in mind, you should seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity. To find out how Lester Morrill’s criminal law team can assist you, please contact us today.