A WOMAN took £126,000 from her 82-year-old widowed and ailing mother’s bank account.

Emma Louise Shackleton, 48, left bills for her mother’s care home unpaid while she used the older woman’s money for her own purposes, York Crown Court was told.

Michael Greenhalgh, prosecuting, said the daughter had power of attorney over the mother’s financial affairs because the older woman has dementia. The fraud was not discovered until the care home was owed £56,000 and the taxpayer was asked to pick up the bill.

The Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, imposed a two-year prison sentence suspended for 18 months after Shackleton's husband handed over £100,000 to repay the public purse for the care home bills and to go into the mother's bank account.

The judge was told it was possible £26,000 of the money had been withdrawn legitimately. The court heard a solicitor now oversees the bank accounts.

"This was an unpleasant deceit for your own benefit," the judge told Shackleton. "I am going to imprison you in your own home. You can stay at home and consider your character."

He imposed a four-month nightly curfew from 6pm to 6am as a condition of the suspension.

Shackleton, of Otley Road, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of power of attorney.