Sheffield man speaks out: 'The carer who stole £8k from my late dad should have been sent to prison'

'Justice would have been him being sent to prison,' a Sheffield man has said after the carer who stole over £8,000 from his late father was given a suspended sentence.

Graham Nicholls' (pictured) carer, Philip Hill, stole 8,725 from him while he was employed to look after him
Graham Nicholls' (pictured) carer, Philip Hill, stole 8,725 from him while he was employed to look after him

On the day of what would have been Graham Nicholls 71st birthday, his carer, Philip Hill, was given a 20-month suspended sentence on Thursday for stealing £8,725 from the vulnerable pensioner.

Judge Rachael Harrison described 60-year-old Hill's behaviour as 'wicked' and 'appalling' during the hearing at Sheffield Crown Court, but said she was just persuaded to suspend his sentence for a period of two years on account of the numerous health problems he suffers from, his lack of previous convictions and the impact having his liberty taken from him would have on his partner, who he cares for.

Mr Nicholls' son, Michael, says he does not feel the sentence Hill received has delivered justice for his 'generous' dad, who died before Hill admitted his guilt.

Graham and Michael pictured together in 1996

"It's almost like my dad has been forgotten, it's not justice," said Michael, of Masters Road, Parson Cross.

The 47-year-old added: "I think him being sent to prison would have been justice. How can someone steal a pensioner's life savings, and not go to prison?

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"What kind of message does this sentence send to people?"

Michael says that after Hill's theft was discovered, following an investigation by the police and social services, his dad was far more 'guarded' with those around him.

"He brought a safe, and carried the key round his neck because he was frightened someone was going to steal more from him. We had to write down everything being spent in a book for him, so he knew that everything was as it should be," said Michael.

Hill was employed to care for Mr Nicholls through Carewatch Sheffield.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how social services launched an investigation after Mr Nicholls, who worked in the steel industry, told another Carewatch staff member that more money than he had authorised had been taken from his Post Office account.

It was later discovered that between November 2015 and March 2017, a total of £4,785 more than Mr Nicholls had authorised had been withdrawn from his Post Office account.

A sum of £3,940 had also been taken from the man's Halifax account, which he himself did not have a PIN number for. In total, £8,725 had been stolen from him.

Hill told police he was only aware of Mr Nicholls' Post Office account, and only withdrew what he had been asked to.

He only admitted his guilt, after CCTV obtained from the police showed Hill at the Premier Store in Buchanan Road, Parson Cross withdrawing money using the Mr Nicholls' Halifax card on March 26 last year.

Michael continued: "I'd like to thank the police for the sterling work they did with the investigation. They put a lot of time and effort into it, and did a great job."

Mr Nicholls was laid to rest at Grenoside Crematorium on February 21 this year, after passing away at his home in January.

Michael explained how the family had 'just enough' money to give Mr Nicholls a 'good send off', but they were concerned they may not be able to because of the thousands Hill stole from them.