Yorkshire thief 'did a Lord Lucan' and fled to South Africa after stealing £55,000 from his ill father

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A thief stole more than £55,000 from his father to buy property in Bulgaria and caravan on the Yorkshire coast.

Tony Blacklock then fled the UK and went on the run to South Africa before his trial over the deception.

Blacklock's barrister told Leeds Crown Court how his client had 'done a Lord Lucan' in a bid to evade justice.

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The 54-year-old, from Wakefield, was jailed for 19 months after pleading guilty to theft and failing to attend court.

Leeds Crown CourtLeeds Crown Court
Leeds Crown Court

Julian Jones, prosecuting, said Blacklock was granted power of attorney over his father's finances in June 2016 after he was diagnosed with dementia.

The court heard Jones sold his father's home on Potter Avenue, Lupset, Wakefield, and arranged for him to be moved into rented accommodation.

The prosecutor said social services were then alerted by one of Blacklock's relatives that he stolen money from the proceeds of the house sale.

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Social services spoke to Blacklock and his partner in May 2017 and they said they had used the money to buy a property for £12,000 in Bulgaria and a static caravan on the Yorkshire coast.

Blacklock, of Esther Grove, Lupset, claimed he had made the purchases as an investment for his father despite neither property being registered in his father's name.

Mr Jones said an investigation of Blacklock's father's bank account revealed the extent of the offending.

The prosecutor said: "In effect they tell their own story that the money was taken out in large chunks week after week."

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Mr Jones said the caravan was bought the day after Blacklock's home was sold.

It was also revealed how Blacklock used the money to pay for £2,000 worth of decking for the caravan, to buy Bulgarian currency and to pay for foreign holidays.

Blacklock was charged with theft but failed to attend court for his trial.

Police then began extradition proceedings against Blacklock after receiving information that he was in South Africa.

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Mr Jones said Blacklock e-mailed a West Yorkshire Police detective from South Africa in February this year.

The defendant stated he was aware that a warrant had been issued for his arrest and that he had been in a psychiatric hospital suffering from depression and anxiety.

The officer advised Blacklock that he should return to the UK.

He was arrested at Manchester Airport on February 14 as he returned to the UK.

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Ishmael Uddin, mitigating, said: "While he had done a Lord Lucan, he subsequently decided after months of anxiety and depression and being in a mental health hospital that he should redeem himself by handing himself in, hence the e-mail to the police."

Mr Uddin said Blacklock accepted that he should not have taken money he was not entitled to.

The barrister said Blacklock had been a loving son and had cared for his father for many years prior to the offending.

Jailing Blacklock, Judge Rodney Jameson QC said: "Your father was incapable of conducting his own financial affairs. He was vulnerable.

"You were in charge of his finances and you abused that substantial degree of trust in an entirely dishonest way."