Leeds thief stole £28,000 from his bereaved mother

Jake Merritt.
Jake Merritt.
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A ‘MEAN’ thief who fleeced his mother of £28,000 which had been left to her following the death of her husband and son has been sent to prison.

Jake Merritt preyed on his parent’s trust when she was vulnerable and unable to leave her home through mental health issues and systematically emptied her bank account.

Leeds Crown Court heard Merritt, 33, moved in his with his mother in August 2013 after he became aware that she had received a large sum of money as a result of two bereavements.

In July last year she was admitted to hospital and Merritt was trusted with her bank card to buy things for her.

His mum then returned home but was too unwell to leave the house.

David Godfrey, prosecuting, said Merritt was allowed to retain the card and was trusted to withdraw £100 every fortnight to pay for food and cigarettes for them both.

In April this year her health improved and she took charge of the bank card. When she went to withdraw cash from a machine her request was declined. She was then told by bank staff that her account had been emptied.

His mother is now suffering severe financial problems as a result of the offence and has had to borrow money from other relatives to get by.

Merritt was arrested and during an interview with police he spat in an officer’s face and told her he had hepatitis.

Days before that incident he approached the JCT 600 Porsche garage in Leeds and threw a brick through a pane of glass, causing £3,000 worth of damage.

Merritt, of Broadlea Crescent, Bramley, pleaded guilty to theft, assaulting a police officer and criminal damage.

The court heard he has a long history of convictions for offences of dishonesty.

Ian Cook, mitigating, said Merritt’s offences were linked to alcohol and drug misuse.

Mr Cook added: “His mother, to a degree, has forgiven him and she is willing to support him.”

Merritt was jailed for two-and-half years.

Judge James Spencer, QC, said: “She had been awarded a substantial sum of money because of your father’s death and your brother’s death.

“What you did between July 2014 and when she got better was dissipate the lot - £28,000 you spent on yourself - so she is left with nothing.

That is a mean offence indeed.”