‘Friend’ jailed over theft of Sheffield pensioner’s life savings

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A SHEFFIELD man who stole his elderly friend’s life savings – leaving him unable to pay for his care home bills – has been jailed for 12 months.

Wayne Hanson, of Southey Hall Road, Longley, used the cash to buy furniture and carpets to try and improve the home he shared with his partner so social services would not remove their second child, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Jim Baird, for Hanson, said the couple had their first child taken into care because of neglect and wanted to be allowed to keep their second child.

Hanson, aged 28, stole £2,000 from 78-year-old Brian Newitt by emptying his Post Office savings account.

He had known the pensioner since he was six and was his only helper when the pensioner lived at home.

David Wain, prosecuting, said Hanson initially helped Mr Newitt with his housekeeping and gardening, but as the elderly man became more frail Hanson took charge of paying the bills.

The pensioner, who began to suffer from Alzheimer’s, was hospitalised and then moved into a care home where he could no longer manage his financial affairs.

Hanson was his only visitor and, faced with a ‘tight financial situation’ at his own home, began withdrawing cash for himself as well as for the old man, the court was told.

Mr Newitt’s bank account was found to be empty in November, when he could no longer afford his care home fees.

The matter was reported to police and Hanson was arrested.

Hanson, who has a previous conviction for dishonesty in 2008, admitted theft.

Mr Baird said: “The money did not go on drink, drugs or any high life.

“He did it for a number of years for no reward. There were no family members lending any support.”

But Judge Roger Keen said it was a breach of trust and the victim was vulnerable.

He told Hanson: “The public would be appalled if you did not go to prison.

“This man wasn’t even able to pay his care home bills.”