Devon

Boyfriend jailed for stealing £21,000 from his partner

Thomas Hooke Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Thomas Hooke began stealing from his girlfriend after he moved into her parents' house

A man who bought his partner gifts with her own bank card has been jailed for 15 months.

Thomas Hooke, 24, started buying things to impress his girlfriend but then carried on using her bank account as his own for two months.

He stole more than £21,000 which she had saved for a house deposit and kept most of the money for himself.

Hooke, who admitted fraud, was jailed at Exeter Crown Court. He was also ordered to pay £12,000 compensation.

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Prosecutor Brian Fitzherbert said Hooke, of Uffculme Road, Willand, started a relationship with Samantha Twyford in September 2015, and the thefts started after he moved into her parents' home two months later.

He obtained the PIN number of her Post Office account, which she used not only for everyday living but for all her savings.

Hooke spent £21,700 in card transactions or cash withdrawals before the fraud came to light.

'Criminal and despicable'

Mr Fitzherbert said: "Samantha's family became suspicious because of other items going missing from the house and so her mother went to check the account and found there was just £1.61 in it."

Recorder Mr Jeremy Wright also made a restraining order banning Hooke from any further contact with Ms Twyford and prohibiting him from going to her home or workplace.

"Your conduct towards the victim was both criminal and despicable," he said.

A probation report said Hooke's motive for the fraud was his efforts to impress Ms Twyford.

The report said: "He wanted to present himself as somebody who had money and was able to buy gifts as well as things for himself."

James Taghdissian, defending, said Hooke's family have helped him raise £12,000 which he can pay in compensation within two months.

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