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Couple guilty of grabbing £100,000 life savings of dementia pensioner
A MONEY-GRABBING couple are facing jail after being found guilty of stealing the life-savings of a frugal pensioner suffering from dementia.
Last night, a detective branded Lesley and Andrew Reeve "parasites" and told The Northern Echo: "They deserve prison for bleeding that poor woman dry."
Teesside Crown Court heard how the pair converted the garage at their £220,000 home into a gym and wet room - but claimed it was for the 91-year-old.
When their thieving came to light, they claimed they had been told to spend the money how they saw fit and some of it was for the benefit of the OAP.
They said they wanted the woman - Mrs Reeve's godmother - to move in with them once she had recovered from a fall and been stabilised in a care home.
Yet a builder and an electrician told the court that they had been instructed to create a fitness room - and no mention was made of a granny flat.
The jury heard how £100,000 of the woman's savings and pension, as well as rent from her previous home, had been spent by the Reeves in just two years.
Mother-of-two Reeve, 56, was convicted of three of the four joint theft charges, while her husband, 55, was found guilty of two and acquitted of two.
They will be sentenced next month after background reports have been compiled by the Probation Service, and they were granted bail in the meantime.
The court heard that the OAP was going to leave the bulk of her wealth to the couple - but their greed took over and they stole it before she died.
At the time of the thefts, they were facing crippling debts of more than £60,000 and had just missed a mortgage payment on their four-bed detached home.
The jury of seven women and five men took seven hours over two days to reach their unanimous verdicts at the end of a trial that lasted nine days.
Receptionist Mrs Reeve collapsed in the dock when the first guilty verdict was returned, and was later helped from the building by her sons.
Her grey-haired husband, who worked for an engineering firm, looked distraught at the jury's findings and gestured several times from the dock.
Outside of court, Detective Constable Rachel Graham, of the Cleveland Police economic crime unit, said: "They are parasites - plain and simple."