Lucy Elston, aged 41 and a mother of two, from Margrove Terrace, Barnstaple, was an online gambler who stole money from her aunt's lifesavings to allow her to continue her gambling habit, has been jailed not just for theft, but also for the serious breach of trust.
Vera Humphries, the aunt is currently in a care facility in North Devon and is currently being treated for dementia. Elston, obtained her aunt's chequebook and cards during her visit. The online gambler was bankrupt and stole money from her aunt's accounts. Mrs. Humphries was already in her 80s and did not have a clue of what was going on. Apparently, the thefts from the aunt's accounts were only found when she had no more money to pay for her fees.
Upon investigation, it was found out that Elston looted from the old lady's account for more than three years and has stolen £31,000. Elston admitted to the theft and was sentenced for a year in jail by Judge Graham Cottle.
The judge told Elston: "Your great aunt was very vulnerable and you stole all her money. You forged her signature and it was a breach of trust because she was a relative. There should have been a relationship of trust between you. ... It does not feel at all comfortable to be sending a woman of 41 who is of previous good character to prison but you have to go because you deserve it. This offence was so serious and was committed over such a long time."
The prosecutor, Mr. David Bowen, disclosed that the authorities were alerted by the care facility after discovering that a large sum of the victim's money has been taken out. In fact, the accounts were not only zeroed out, but they were also over-drafted after Elston had spent too much on online gambling.
Mr. Richard Crabb, defending, said that the stolen amounts were perceived to have been much higher had it not been Elston spending thousands on stuff for her aunt. He said, "She has expressed remorse and deep regret and she is ashamed of what she did."