Elderly woman told god-daughter to spend life savings how she liked, court told (From The Northern Echo)
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Elderly woman told god-daughter to spend life savings how she liked, court told
1:00am Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
A GOD-DAUGHTER accused of stealing more than £100,000 from a vulnerable 91-year-old told a court yesterday the spinster told her to spend her life savings how she liked.
Dementia-sufferer Joan Killen was "ecstatic" after Lesley Reeve, 56, and her 55-year-old husband Andrew asked her to move in with them, Teesside Crown Court heard.
The jury has been told that the couple spent some of the pensioner's savings on converting the garage of their home in Chichester Close, Hartlepool.
The Reeves claim the work was carried out to turn it into a bedroom, but the prosecution claimed the real intention was to make it into a gym and wet room.
The unemployed former oil company receptionist, who has sons aged 24 and 27, said she grew up with her godmother "Aunty Joan" as a constant part of her life.
After the pensioner suffered a fall, the couple asked if she wanted to move in with them, Mrs Reeve said.
"Her first words were I thought you would never ask," she told the jury.
"She was ecstatic."
The defendant said Miss Killen told them to spend what they needed to on their house and hers, to modernise it.
"She said use whatever you want basically," the defendant said.
The couple are jointly charged with four counts of theft, which they deny.
The court has heard the couple wiped out Miss Killen's life-savings in two years. They claim they were allowed to spend the money, but are accused of stealing £95,000 from her savings, plus her pension, winter fuel allowance and money they made by renting her home out when she went into care.
The court has heard the couple paid off debts of more than £11,000, bought a car and regularly shopped at Next, M&S and Argos.
Mr Reeve became a signatory for her bank accounts and transferred money from savings to her current account, the court heard.
The trial continues.