A MAN stole more than £3,000 from the estate of his late girlfriend, who had wanted to leave a cash legacy for her five-year-old daughter.
Leeds Crown Court heard 46-year-old Mark Hibberd also took more than £1,200 raised during community charity events for the little girl after her mother lost her cancer battle.
The court was told Hibberd, of St Helen’s Avenue, Hemsworth, started a relationship with Suzanne Clarkson in 2008.
Prosecutor, Richard Walters said Miss Clarkson was diagnosed with cancer soon after the relationship started and she died in July 2010.
Shortly before Miss Clarkson died, her former employers made a £7,575 medical severance payment in to her bank account.
The court heard that Hibberd transferred £6,000 from that account in to his own account.
Hibberd was named in Miss Clarkson’s will to act as executor, but declined the task and Miss Clarkson’s family appointed someone else.
Mr Walters said: “They tried to obtain bank statements, it was then it became apparent that money had gone from the account.”
The court heard some of the £6,000 was used for Miss Clarkson’s funeral expenses and for mortgage arrears.
Miss Clarkson’s family had also asked Hibberd to look after cash raised for her daughter during a series of community fundraisers, which included charity darts matches
Mitigaqing, Dan Smith said: “He is deeply ashamed and wants to put things right. He is genuinely sorry.”
Hibberd, who admitted two counts of theft, was handed an eight-month prison sentence, which was suspended for 12 months.
He must also complete 200 hours of community work,
Judge Tom Bayliss QC told him: “You suffered a bereavement in 2010 of someone described as your soulmate.
“And what you did for your soulmate was to steal the money she had destined for her five-year-old daughter.”
Judge Bayliss added: “To compound matters, you stole money people in the community had put a lot of time in to raising for that same daughter.”