Bristol carer accused of conning OAP out of £10,000
A CARE worker fleeced a vulnerable 81-year-old woman out of £10,000 to pay off her own debts, a jury heard.
Hildegard Williams cashed Brenda Davidge's weekly pension cheque at Kingswood post office, Bristol Crown Court was told yesterday.
She then handed Mrs Davidge as little as £5 to tide her over and used the pensioner's cash to pay credit card and store card debts – and fund trips to the beauty parlour, a jury heard.
Williams, 59, of Derrick Road, Kingswood, denies fraud between January 2008 and September 2010.
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David Scutt, prosecuting, said Mrs Davidge used to go to Kingswood post office to collect her pension and pay bills from the city council for meals and home care.
He said: "Up until January 2007 she paid those bills without any difficulty whatsoever, on time. Concerns were raised within Bristol City Council that by December 6, 2008, there were considerable arrears for both bills, running into thousands of pounds."
Council worker Doreen Parker met Mrs Davidge and Williams to ask what was happening, Mr Scutt said.
The meeting resulted in an undertaking that £100 a week would be paid off to the arrears.
Mr Scutt said: "It was clear that Hildegard Williams was helping Mrs Davidge with her finances. Everyone left it at that but the arrears just kept going up."
But the court heard Mrs Davidge's arrears continued to rise, to £10,000.
Mr Scutt said an investigation was mounted to "follow the money" and Williams was found to have deposited cash amounts into her own bank account, many of which were made on pension day.
Mr Scutt told the court: "Hildegard Williams was pinching the money and putting it into her bank, thinking she was going to get away with it."
He said Williams and her husband's joint bank account was analysed and it was clear there was a large amount of debt, including an overdraft, catalogue bills, credit card and store card bills.
Mr Scutt said: "By paying in this cash from Brenda Davidge, Mrs Williams was reducing the speed by which her debt increased, so income would just exceed expenditure."
The court heard that between April 2009 and May 2010 Williams was paying off debts as well as beauty treatment and utility bills.
When interviewed she denied wrongdoing, saying she had only cashed cheques for Mrs Davidge on four occasions.
Mrs Davidge, who is hard of hearing, told police Williams would buy her food and clothes and give her as little as £5 to put in her purse.
She told officers she didn't know about any unpaid bills and left payments up to Williams.
The case continues.