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Daughter who stole £150,000 from ailing parents jailed for 3 years

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 13, 2014

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A conniving daughter from the West Country who stole £150,000 from her seriously ill parent's life-savings to fuel her gambling addiction has been jailed for three years.

Kate Morton, 32, took control of the family finances after her father received compensation for the brain damage suffered in an accident and her mother got dementia.

She systematically stole the cash over four-and-a-half years and squandered it on her gambling habit - leaving her ailing parents with nothing.

Morton, from Swindon, Wiltshire, was jailed for three years after she admitted six counts of theft.

Swindon Crown Court heard how she had swindled her parents out of £154,840 over a four-and-a-half year period but initially denied any wrong-doing.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, said: "She systematically removed a total, according to the counts, of £154,840.34.

"She denied the offence until fairly late in the day. That is one of the features which seem to have been most painful to her father.

"He said in some ways he is glad his wife isn't fully aware what is going on as it would have broken her heart."

The court heard Morton's father John Wilmot suffered a brain injury in a crash in 1999 and received a substantial payout as he could no longer work.

John's wife Jacqueline obtained power of attorney as his memory was poor, but in 2008 she suffered a brain bleed and then the onset of dementia.

She then had no capacity to deal with the family finances and at one point Morton looked into her getting power of attorney to help them with their money.

Though that never formally took place, mother-of-four Morton started to help herself to their money in January 2008.

She transferred funds electronically to her own account and also made cash machine withdrawals.

Morton redirected her parent's bank statements to her address to cover her tracks and 'looked after' her mum's passport and bank cards.

In late 2011 and early 2012 Mrs Wilmot received an inheritance which Morton also set about stealing before she was caught later that year.

Morton's parents have now been left without any savings which could have been used for care fees, as her mum is now suffering full dementia.

In a victim impact statement Mr Wilmot said they were on the state pension and now his wife's dementia had deteriorated they can't contribute to her care.

He said: "If we were able to pay more than £7-a-week then she could have more carers and adaptations in the home.

"It is devastating to think our own daughter stole from us in this way over a prolonged period of time."

Morton pleaded guilty to six counts of theft when she appeared at Swindon Crown Court.

Con Fernandes, defending, said she was now full of remorse for what she had done which was out of character with the rest of her life.

He added that two of her children had been taken into care and two had gone to live with their father, her partner has left her and she has lost her parents.

Judge Douglas Field said: "Not only has your father realised that his own daughter stole this very large amount of money it means the inheritance your mother got which was earmarked for their future is greatly diminished.

"This is a very serious breach of trust."

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