Gambler jailed for ‘terrible and gross breach of trust’

Chief inspector Clare Jenkins

Probe after three young girls ‘abused’

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A GAMBLING addict has been jailed after stealing £50,000 from a 95-year-old woman he befriended.

Graham Spicer, 38, looked after Frederica Gale for several years as an unpaid carer as she had no family around to help her.

Spicer appeared ‘attentive and caring’ to his elderly friend and, at one point, even offered her a place in his family home when she became frail.

But, in December 2008, that changed when he secured – with her consent – power of attorney giving him full control over her finances.

Within weeks Mrs Gale had been moved into a care home which she was told would be temporary to give her some respite.

By February 2009 Spicer had sold her house saying he would use the cash to pay her care home fees.

But he stopped visiting her and only two payments were made to the care home.

A solicitor became suspicious when the victim, now aged 97, revealed she had never seen a penny from the sale of the house.

Prosecuting barrister Richard Withey, said: ‘Mrs Gale’s house was sold for £69,000 and she, in effect, did not see a penny of it.

‘Mr Spicer used that money for gambling, paying off other debts and indeed she remains in the care home and is now 97 years of age.

‘The money was supposed to be used for her care but has not been so the taxpayer is paying for her now. ‘

In July 2010 Mrs Gale had just £1.30 in her bank account.

Spicer, of Shelford Road, Southsea, had frittered away all her money.

Addressing Recorder Sarah Munro, Mr Withey said Spicer was supposed to keep her belongings safe but the new occupants of the house had to pay £3,000 to have her furniture taken away.

He said: ‘A ring belonging to her deceased son was not found and not returned to her. As a result of what happened she not only lost her house and her money but also personal and emotional objects.

‘She described herself as being a “fool” for having been sucked in by him.

‘She said initially he could not have been more attentive and caring.

‘She actually made her will out to him.

‘That has now been revoked.’

Spicer, a father of three with no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to one count of theft.

Jailing him for two years Recorder Munro said she accepted that for several years Spicer cared for Mrs Gale and tended to her needs when no one else did but that he was guilty of a ‘terrible and gross breach of trust’.

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