Hartlepool godmother theft-accused 'told to spend'

Lesley and Andrew Reeve at Teesside Crown Court The couple deny four counts of theft

Related Stories

A man accused of stealing his wife's godmother's life savings was given permission by the alleged victim to take the money, a court has heard.

Lesley Reeve, 56, and her 55-year-old husband, Andrew, from Hartlepool, deny four charges of theft.

Teesside Crown Court was told they took almost £95,000 from dementia sufferer Joan Killen over a two year period.

Mr Reeve said the 91-year-old told him and his wife to use the money "in any way we saw fit".

The court heard Miss Killen considered the couple, of Chichester Close, Hartlepool, as the only family she had.

Mr Reeve became co-signatory for her accounts when her mental health began to deteriorate.

'We love Joan'

Almost £95,000 was then removed, until she had insufficient funds to pay her care home fees, and the authorities were alerted.

The prosecution allege that the couple spent the money on paying off a credit card bill, buying a new car, and making other retail purchases.

Some of it went on a planning application to convert their garage into a gym and wet room, but Mr Reeve said it was really intended as a bedroom for Miss Killen.

He told the court that she was "delighted" with the plan to move in with them.

"She told what we could spend what we needed to do the modernisations, and she also said we could use it as we saw fit," he said.

He said the couple had been unable to see Miss Killen since their arrest.

"We love her, we love Joan.," he said.

"We are her only family and we haven't been able to see her for 19 months."

The trial continues.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tees

Weather

Middlesbrough

15 °C 12 °C

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • A virtual girlfriendClick Watch

    Using the latest tech to find friends on a night out and meet a virtual girlfriend

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.