Louise Gray, widow of Ipswich 7/7 bombing victim, wins prison sentence cut
PUBLISHED: 14:14 01 July 2015 | UPDATED: 14:29 01 July 2015
The widow of a 7/7 bombing victim from Ipswich who was jailed after stealing £43,000 from her son’s compensation has won a 14-month cut in her prison sentence.
Louise Gray, 43, of Sheldrake Road, spent £250,000 of her own compensation money before she “betrayed” her son Adam and plundered his fund, Ipswich Crown Court heard in January this year.
Adam was just 11 years old when his father, accountant Richard Gray, 41, was one of 52 people killed in the 2005 London bombings as he travelled to work.
Gray, who pleaded guilty to one charge of theft, was jailed for two years and eight months after Judge David Goodin told her: “It is an act of wickedness almost beyond belief.”
Just a few days before the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, Lady Justice Macur, Mr Justice Walker and Judge Martyn Zeidman in the Court of Appeal agreed that the sentence was excessive and that 18 months was the appropriate term.
Gray, who watched the proceedings via videolink from prison, listened as Judge Zeidman described her behaviour as “mean and disgraceful”.
Mr Gray was killed by suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer on a Circle line Underground train.
The court at Ipswich heard that Gray received around £250,000 in compensation, including £160,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, while £55,000 was awarded to Adam.
His money was placed in trust until his 18th birthday but he then gave it to his mother to look after.
When he arranged to meet her in November 2013 to ask for the money because he wanted to buy a property, she confessed she had spent it.
Adam took civil action to try to recover the money and his mother was ordered by a county court judge to repay him the £43,000. He also reported the matter to the police.
Judge Zeidman said that Adam was “understandably aggrieved” by the behaviour of Gray.
He said: “There is absolutely no doubt that this was a serious breach of trust to a very high degree.
“We find it easy to understand the huge and justifiable upset that must have been caused to the son of the victim.
“Theft in breach of trust is always serious but to steal from her own son, as she did, with the tragic background of this case, is particularly bad.”
The court bore in mind Gray’s previous good character and the loss of her husband, who she had known since she was 15, and whose death was only confirmed about 10 days after the bombing.
“Not surprisingly, she fell into a clinical depression and was unable to work or complete the task of bringing up her two children alone.
“She failed to avail herself of the benefits to which she was entitled and, within six months of the bombing, she suffered the loss of her own mother when she was still in the throes of grief for her husband.”
But, he added: “We should not for one moment forget or cast aside the very real hurt suffered by her son, who is also a victim of that bombing.”
He said that Gray was now in a new relationship and had a three-year-old daughter and had shown real remorse for what she had done.
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