Leeds son stole £28,000 from his grieving mother

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A Leeds man stole £28,000 from his ill mother’s bank account after she received the cash in pension and death in service benefits following the deaths of her husband and a son.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard Jake Merritt was on police bail for that offence when he spat in a female police officer’s face and told her: “I have Hepatitis C.”

Merritt, 33, of Broadlea Crescent, Bramley, admitted stealing £28,000 from his mother between October 1 last year and April 20 2015.

He also admitted assaulting the police officer by spitting at her on April 27.

Prosecutor, Marie Austin-Walsh said Merritt’s mother had received around £34,000 in pension and death in service benefits following the deaths of her husband and a son.

The court heard his mother had been ill for some time and had been treated in hospital for depression.

Mrs Austin Walsh said: “The defendant did have her bank card and PIN number legally. He was buying food and cigarettes on her behalf. It became apparent £28,000 had been taken from the account.”

Mrs Austin-Walsh said Merritt became agitated while talking to officers when he attended at a Leeds police station on Monday this week.

She added: “He said he felt like spitting in the officer’s face.

“He spat directly at the police officer and told her ‘I have Hepatitis C.’

“Police have said they have a marker that he does have Hepatitis C.”

Mitigating, Mark Pritchard said: “He became frustrated and spat at the officer. He apologises.”

District Judge Marie Mallon committed Merritt’s case to Leeds Crown Court for sentencing on May 26. Merritt was remanded in custody.

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