A CARER took advantage of a vulnerable 102-year-old woman by stealing more than £250,000 from her savings and writing herself into her will, a court has heard.
Julie Sayles, 59, of Bridlington, East Yorkshire, bought two houses with the money she transferred from a joint bank account she set up with Edith Negus, Hull Crown Court heard.
The jury was told the defendant, who worked for a charity providing care for the elderly, also wrote a new will in which the majority of Ms Negus’s remaining assets were left to her.
Sayles has gone on trial accused of fraud by abuse of position, buying properties with the proceeds of crime, making a fraudulent will and presenting it to a solicitor.
Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, told the jury of nine men and three women that Ms Negus’s physical and mental health began to deteriorate after her 100th birthday.
He said she began receiving care from Friends of the Elderly, a charity run by Sayles, who was described as “domineering” by others.
Mr Stevenson said: “The prosecution suggest she had become vulnerable and the defendant took advantage of her.
“This defendant took advantage of Edith and took from her a quarter of a million pounds in several large bank transfers and wrote for herself a way into Edith’s will for the majority of the remaining assets.
“She set up a joint bank account with Edith in the months before Edith’s death and caused Edith to put large amounts of her own money from her savings into that joint bank account, from which this defendant was then simply able to withdraw money from that joint bank account. From that she bought for herself two houses.”
The court heard that between February and July 2014, Sayles made a number of withdrawals – of £7,688, £90,000, £40,000 and several totalling £150,000 – from the joint account.
Mr Stevenson said Sayles used the money to buy two properties in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, and Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
The prosecutor told the jury Ms Negus had no children but treated one niece as her own daughter and had a will in which she left her belongings to her family.
He said Sayles presented two new wills to a solicitor in the days after Ms Negus’s death, in October 2014, leaving the majority of her assets to Sayles and referring to £250,000 already gifted to the carer as a thank-you.
Mr Stevenson said Sayles tried to have one of the documents created through a solicitor but Ms Negus would not comply and the solicitor concluded she did not have the mental capacity to form a new will.
He said the authorities became involved after a neighbour overheard Sayles talking to Ms Negus about making a new will leaving her estate to her. Social workers said Ms Negus was unable to tell them who provided her support or about her financial affairs and said she referred to her will as “a bit dusty”, the court heard.
Mr Stevenson said the centenarian offered her money for her care and to invest in property and that the wills were created on Ms Negus’s instructions.
Sayles denies all the charges. The trial continues.
Accused ‘set up joint account’
Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, said Julie Sayles ‘caused Edith to sign a new will’ in which she would no longer leave the majority of her assets to her family but to the defendant.
Mr Stevenson said Ms Negus had saved a large amount of money during her lifetime and described her as “thrifty”.
He said Sayles set up a joint account with Ms Negus in January 2014, into which money was transferred from the elderly woman’s savings accounts.
Mr Stevenson said Sayles was arrested after Ms Negus’s death and denied any wrongdoing throughout her police interviews.