HE stole thousands of pounds from his mother when she was dying and unable to object.
But Andrew Burbidge has been spared jail for abusing her trust in him.
I made some bad judgements and mistakesAndrew Burbidge
The 58-year-old was given a two-year suspended sentence at Portsmouth Crown Court after admitting three counts of fraud.
Burbidge, who lives at the Highbury College student halls in Tudor Crescent, Portsmouth, stole £10,593.20 over several months while he lived with his mum Marjorie Burbidge at her house in Priory Road, Gosport.
The deceit was discovered by Burbidge’s sisters, Barbara Wilson and Dr Sally Butcher, after their mum’s failing health forced her to be moved to Russell Churcher Court care home in Gosport in November 2012. She died in March 2014 aged 90.
Judge Claudia Ackner said Burbidge had committed an ‘inexcusable abuse of trust’ while he had his mother’s power of attorney.
Ms Ackner said: ‘You took advantage of your mother’s inability to look after her own affairs and of your sisters’ trust.’
Solicitor Marcus Tregilgas-Davey, prosecuting, read a statement from Mrs Wilson which said the fraud caused ‘huge emotional damage and financial strain.’
The statement read: ‘How do you tell your mother her son is a manipulative conman?
Mrs Burbidge was not told about the crimes before she died.
Ms Ackner said Burbidge was ‘clearly a hardworking student’ who acted as his mum’s full-time carer as her health worsened.
Burbidge said his mum had bronchitis and heart problems and showed signs of dementia before she died.
He said: ‘She was a shadow of her former self at the end of her life.’
Burbidge is in the final year of a four-year computer networking degree. Speaking to The News, he said: ‘I’m very sorry it all happened. I made some bad judgments and mistakes. I’m relieved it’s over and I want to move forward.’
The court heard that in one instance, Burbidge cashed a £600 cheque he wrote in his mum’s name to pay for computer equipment for his classmates. In addition to the suspended sentence, he was ordered to pay all of the money he stole back to his mum’s estate and do 200 hours of community service.