Tyne & Wear

Janet Brown murder: Elizabeth Todd sentenced for fraud

Janet Brown Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Janet Brown's body has never been found

A woman who posed as a murdered heiress to help her lover gain access to the dead woman's estate has been sentenced.

Janet Brown, of Hexham, disappeared in 2005. Her lover Donald Graham was jailed for life for her murder in 2014.

Graham persuaded new lover Elizabeth Todd to impersonate Ms Brown in an attempt to convince people she was still alive.

Todd admitted fraud at Newcastle Crown Court and was handed a six-month prison term, suspended for 18 months.

Graham bought a house for Todd using money he had transferred from Ms Brown's accounts and gained from her dead parents' assets.

Todd, 52, of Elsdon Avenue, Seaton Delaval, was posed as Ms Brown, by writing a letter to her bank and making telephone calls under her name.

'Skillful conman'

Ms Brown was 45 when she "disappeared from the face of the earth".

Graham, her long-term lover, convinced people she had gone on holiday and decided to live abroad.

He transferred money from her account into his own and sold her collection of expensive cars, before turning his attention to her frail and elderly parents.

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Donald Graham lavished money on Elizabeth Todd

When they died he drained off most of their assets.

Married Graham, who was described during his trial as a "skilful conman", admitted fraud, but denied murder and perverting the course of justice.

He was found guilty on both counts and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 32 years.

Ms Brown's body has never been found.

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