Man "unhappy" at being denied power to take over pensioner's home, court told (From The Northern Echo)
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Hartlepool man "unhappy" at being prevented from taking over pensioner's home, court told
A MAN accused of stealing the life savings of his wife's godmother seemed angry when he was unable to get his hands on her home as well, a court heard yesterday (Wednesday, August 7).
Andrew Reeve tried to secure power of attorney after going to see the 91-year-old in a home where she was being cared for as her mental health deteriorated.
During the meeting - also attended by Mr Reeve's solicitor - a council social care worker said the pensioner lacked the capacity to sign over her remaining estate.
The official, Cheryl Campion, told a jury at Teesside Crown Court that Mr Reeve "was not very happy" when she blocked the move.
"I think he saw me as a bit of a busy-body, stepping in and saying this could not take place. It felt like he didn't want me in the room," she said.
Mr Reeve, 55, and wife Lesley, 56, deny four charges of theft and claim they were told by the spinster they could spend her £130,000 savings on themselves.
Their alleged victim had no close relatives visiting her, and although her god-daughter was not a blood relative, she and her husband were her only 'family'.
After she was taken into care with dementia in 2009, the couple, of Chichester Close, Hartlepool, became responsible for her finances.
They systematically withdrew money and transferred large amounts into their own account, and also spent her weekly pension and annual winter fuel allowance.
Mrs Reeve used some of her godmother’s money to pay off an £11,174 credit card debt, and also bought a car, furnishings and electrical goods.
The jury heard that there was regular spending at Next, M&S and Argos - funded by the ailing pensioner - and they converted their garage into a gym and wet room.
Two council officials and a care home manager yesterday described the pensioner as "confused" when they met her in 2009 and the following year.
Paula Graham said she was unsure of how many bank and savings accounts she had.
The council's property and finance manager, Janet Dickinson, said the Reeves also ignored a series of letters asking for up-to-date financial statements.
Care home manager Julie Armstrong said staff had to write to the couple when she had just 94p left in her personal allowance fund for hair cuts, toiletries and trips.
Paul Abrahams, defending, suggested care home staff sent the couple a string of letters because relationships had broken down following a catalogue of complaints.
He said the Reeves moaned that the resident had been left alone in a corridor, her broken spectacles had not been fixed, staff had sworn, and on one occasion she was given just a chip sandwich.
The trial continues.