a CONWOMAN who stole the £20,000 life savings of a 94-year-old spinster has been jailed for 15 months – but her victim did not live long enough to see justice being done.
Gillian Stones, aged 53, collapsed and had to be helped from the dock by prison warders after a judge jailed her for ‘serious dishonesty’.
Sheffield Crown Court heard Stones befriended Mary Bagnall when she was in her 70s and was later awarded the pensioner’s power of attorney.
But she was caught when Rotherham Council social services realised care home fees for Miss Bagnall had not been paid for some time.
Carl Fitch, prosecuting, said the spinster, of Clifton, Rotherham, who had no close family, became friends with Stones who visited her three or four times a week.
Stones and Robert Simnall, in his 60s, had been helping Miss Bagnall with her shopping and finances but, as the pensioner’s health deteriorated, she moved into Clifton Meadows nursing home.
Stones arranged for new clothes and furniture for the pensioner when she moved.
Sheffield Crown Court heard Miss Bagnall gave Stones’ son £8,500 from the sale of her old home because he was in financial trouble, and Stones £4,500 to buy a car.
Miss Bagnall also gave Stones £50 towards the cost of a driver’s licence for her 21-year-old student daughter.
When Mr Simnall fell ill, Stones started collecting Miss Bagnall’s pension and paying her bills and in October 2008 was made power of attorney.
By the time police got involved, Miss Bagnall was 94 - and died in October last year.
Stones admitted keeping money without Miss Bagnall’s knowledge from December 2007 to June 2011. She told police: “Everything just escalated and got out of hand.”
Stones, of Blyth Avenue, Rawmarsh, admitted fraud by abuse of position.
Robert Smith, defending, said she had no experience in financial affairs but fulfilled the role for Miss Bagnall until she was stopped from visiting her.
She admitted she kept no records and ‘there was a point when she was taking money that wasn’t authorised’.
Judge Alan Goldsack QC said: “You have stolen about £20,000 of her money for you and your family’s benefit. That is serious dishonesty.”