Carer jailed for stealing life savings

A FATHER of four and carer of his sick parent has been jailed for 15 months for swindling an elderly woman of her life savings.Norman Bucknole shook his head in disbelief as he was led from the court to the cells.

A FATHER of four and carer of his sick parent has been jailed for 15 months for swindling an elderly woman of her life savings.

Norman Bucknole shook his head in disbelief as he was led from the court to the cells.

Bucknole, 45, of Harris Avenue, Lowestoft, pleaded guilty to obtaining £5,000 from Helen Tatum by deception.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Bucknole had been working on Mrs Tatum's house when the dishonesty started.

Mrs Tatum was given a lump sum of money which enabled her to take early retirement at 55.

The court heard that Bucknole knew about the money and offered to go into business with Mrs Tatum in the form of a boatyard. Mrs Tatum bought three boats but no profit was ever generated. Eventually the business collapsed.

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However, between January 2000 and March 2001 Bucknole took £420 a month off Mrs Tatum for the upkeep of the boats and boatyard which no longer existed.

The court heard that during that time Bucknole swindled £5,000 out of the woman who is now aged 70.

It was also revealed that Mrs Tatum became so in debt that services such as telephone, water and electricity were on the verge of being cut off and she was in danger of losing her house.

Richard Potts, mitigating, said Bucknole had been in a relationship for 20 years and while his wife worked, he cared for his four children and his sick father who is 68.

Judge John Devaux said: "In this case the victim was a widowed woman now aged 70. You knew full well what her financial situation was. It is hard to imagine a meaner offence. It was a wicked exploitation over 13 months of an elderly woman who trusted you."

As well as being jailed for 15 months, Bucknole was ordered to pay £1,600 compensation to Mrs Tatum.

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