Exmouth man, 85, poisoned by homeless partner for inheritance

Exeter Crown Court
Image caption Judge Geoffrey Mercer said Leslie Quaintance was "distraught that somebody he was close to treated him in this way"

A homeless woman has admitted poisoning an 85-year-old man for his inheritance after they started a relationship.

Betty Miller hoped to get half the value of Leslie Quaintance's home by killing him, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Miller, 37, pleaded guilty to administering a poison, so as to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm.

She was jailed for 18 months, suspended for two years and ordered to receive psychiatric treatment.

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The court heard Mr Quaintance met Miller at a church when she was homeless, in 2013.

Poisoning diary

He took pity on her and gave her a home and they started a relationship, the court heard.

When he moved from Christchurch in Dorset to a £245,000 flat in Exmouth, Devon two years ago he put a half-share in the property to her and left her £50,000 in his will.

The court heard Mr Quaintance had a kidney condition that meant the headache drug Ibuprofen could prove fatal.

Last August, Miller, who is now living in supported accommodation in Bournemouth, put Ibuprofen in his coffee, but he only drank half a cup and suffered no serious ill effects.

However, Miller later confessed to what she had done, to a mental health nurse and police found details of the poisoning in her diary.

Peter Coombe, prosecuting, said: "When police searched her room they found a copy of his most recent will, details of his share holdings, Land Registry documents and bank statements."

Judge Geoffrey Mercer said the drug was "intended to make his symptoms progress so he would pass".

He said Mr Quaintance "not surprisingly, was shocked and distraught that somebody he was close to treated him in this way".

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