A WOMAN raided thousands of pounds from her ailing 98-year-old grandmother’s life savings, spending the cash on shopping trips, a court heard.
Jayne Godsmark, a 41-year-old mum-of-two, was given power of attorney over Kathleen Aldredge’s financial affairs when she developed dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
But instead of helping her grandmother, Godsmark abused her position to steal around £6,000 from the pensioner’s bank account, using the money to buy shopping and petrol.
Godsmark, who admitted theft, narrowly escaped jail when a judge at Sheffield Crown Court decided her crimes were ‘committed out of desperation rather than wickedness’.
Nicholas Dry, prosecuting, said the power of attorney agreement was made in 2010 when Mrs Aldredge fell ill.
Godsmark, of Newland Avenue, Cudworth, Barnsley, stole the money from her grandmother’s bank account, buying goods with her debit card.
Laura Marshall, defending, said the former charity worker was in severe financial difficulty after her marriage failed and had struggled to find work.
Judge Michael Murphy QC told the court the case was ‘a total tragedy for all concerned’.
He told Godsmark: “You are a woman of good character and a pillar of the community, someone who is a good mother and has in the past done charitable work.
“You hit upon bad times and unfortunately tried to make things better, but only made things infinitely worse.”
The judge said Godsmark deserved a prison term, but that jail would ‘achieve absolutely nothing apart from further fragmenting the family.’
She was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment suspended for a year, and ordered to pay her grandmother £5,000.
Godsmark has already repaid around £1,000, and has agreed to sign a legal document removing herself from Mrs Eldredge’s will.