England

Builder John Pulsford-Brooks 'took £87k from couple'

A 92-year-old man and his 85-year-old wife had £87,000 taken from their bank accounts by a friend who looked after their finances, jurors were told.

Douglas and Joyce Oakden, from High Cross, Hertfordshire, gave a Suffolk builder power of attorney over their finances, St Albans Crown Court heard.

John Pulsford-Brooks, 46, of Station Road, Woodbridge, denies fraud.

Mr Oakden said the alleged crime came to light after he asked a neighbour to look at his bank statements.

Speaking via a video link from his home, Mr Oakden said he had known the builder for more than 40 years.

"I trusted him," he said. "I couldn't do transactions myself and handed things over to him and gave him power of attorney."

'I'm in shock'

He said he had loaned him money in the past and had bought him a £3,000 cooker in return for work he had done.

Mr Oakden said his vision was poor and he had asked his neighbour to open his bank statements.

It was then discovered £25,000 had been transferred to Mr Pulsford-Brooks, the court heard.

Asked if he had given permission for the money to be transferred, Mr Oakden said: "No. I'm in shock he has done such a thing."

Prosecutor Robert Dalling said Mr Pulsford-Brooks had abused his position and failed to safeguard the financial interests of the couple.

He said that when the accounts were examined £87,000 had gone missing.

The alleged fraud by abuse of position happened between January and October 2011.

The trial continues.

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