Widow of 7/7 bombing victim faces jail for stealing son’s compensation
The widow of a 7/7 bombing victim has been warned that she faces jail after she admitted stealing £43,000 from her son’s compensation.
Louise Gray, 42, of Sheldrake Drive, Ipswich, frittered away the cash while looking after it for her son Adam, 20, after he was awarded £50,000 following the death of his father.
The jobless mother-of-three dipped into the money after spending her own £250,000 compensation on clothes, home improvements, cars, an outdoor jacuzzi, luxury holidays and seven Chihuahuas.
Her accountant husband Richard Gray, 41, of Ipswich, was one of the 52 people killed in the London bombings on July 7, 2005, as he commuted to work.
Gray admitted stealing £43,000 from her son between July 16, 2012, and November 29, 2013, when she appeared yesterday at Ipswich Crown Court.
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Recorder Simon Blackford adjourned sentencing until January for probation reports and asked her to produce evidence of her financial affairs.
But he warned her that she was likely to be jailed for the offence, despite having pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
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Adam was aged just 11 when his tax expert father was killed by suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer on a Circle Line underground train.
Two years after the attack, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority awarded £250,000 to his mother along with £50,000 for him.
His sister was awarded £100,000 as she is four years younger than him and would have felt her father’s loss for longer.
The children’s money was placed in trust until their 18th birthdays, but Adam gave his cash to his mother to look after when he turned 18.
He found out earlier this year that the bulk of the money had gone when he asked her what had happened to it.
Adam, who now lives in Epping, Essex, took civil action to try to recover the cash and she was ordered by a county court judge in June to repay him £43,790.
But he then decided to pursue criminal action against his mother to get her prosecuted for theft.
Prosecutor Michael Crimp told the court yesterday that Gray had offered to pay her son £10,000 followed by further monthly payments at an enforcement hearing this week .
He added: “For whatever reason, that sum was rejected by the claimant so the position in relation to the enforcement of the debt remains unclear.
“She is not employed and is the mother of a three-year-old daughter. She has a partner in employment and there is a monthly offer on the table.”
The judge told Gray the case was going to be adjourned for pre-sentence reports.
He said: “It will now be part of your bail conditions that you comply with the requirements of the probation process and that means you will have to attend a meeting or possibly more than one.
“As I indicated, it is very important to produce the full details of your personal circumstances.
“That means you must disclose any assets you have. You must produce six months of bank statements and give an indication of any other savings or assets
“In adjourning, I am giving no indication of the sentence. But, as I have indicated, prison is the likely outcome.”
Gray refused to comment after the hearing. She was supported in court by her partner Umar Shamshoom, a 33-year-old Iraqi refugee who is the father of her youngest daughter.
Adam, who now works as a street canvasser for a charity, told in July how his relationship with his mother was now in tatters.
He said: “First I lost my father and now I’ve lost my mother. It’s hard to believe this could happen to us after all we’ve suffered.”