Accountant jailed after swindling almost £200k out of widow, 94, destitute in care home

September 2, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

An accountant who left a 94-year-old widow destitute in a care home after swindling her out of £183,000 has been jailed.

Paul Willis, 51, had power of attorney over the estate of aging family friend Margaret Nunn.

But instead of managing her assets he splashed the cash on luxury holidays, designer clothes and paying off his debts.

Willis, from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, even charged the pensioner £18,000 in accountancy fees – despite her leaving him £10,000 in her will.

Mrs Nunn died in 2008 at a care home in Winscombe, Somerset.

Willis was then rumbled by Mrs Nunn’s adopted daughter Valerie Bedecker, who lives in South Africa, when he told her there was no inheritance money.

But after being arrested, unrepentant Willis told police: “I’m entitled to expect a certain standard of living.”

Jailing him for 38 months at Bristol Crown Court, Judge Michael Roach said: “Let’s not beat about the bush. This is very obviously a prison sentence.

“You stole, over a protracted period, £183,000 from the assets of an elderly lady for whom you were an accountant and executor of her estate, and for whom you had been granted power of attorney. She was a vulnerable woman.

“I find that you had stolen from her to the point at which in the last days of her life she was destitute.”

Richard Shepherd, prosecuting, said: “He was highly trained. He was a trusted individual, a senior accountant responsible for junior accountants.

“Thousands and thousands and thousands was spent on high living while Margaret Nunn’s account was being bled dry.”

Giles Nelson, defending, said his client had come across as “irritating and arrogant.”

A Proceeds of Crime hearing will now be held in December to confiscate Willis’ available assets.

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