Carer jailed for stealing £290,000 from 102-year-old woman

Julie Sayles arriving at court
Image caption The jury took less than two hours to find Julie Sayles guilty

A "merciless" carer who stole nearly £290,000 from a 102-year-old woman has been jailed for nine years.

Julie Sayles, 59, of Sewerby Road, Bridlington, East Yorkshire, bought two houses with money she took from a bank account she shared with Edith Negus.

She was found guilty of six charges at Hull Crown Court, including fraud by abuse of position.

Mrs Negus's great niece Ann Ruthuen said the family had been "unable to grieve for aunt Edith".

In a statement read to the court, she said the case had caused stress and anxiety and "it has devastated many of us".

"Julie Sayles organised the funeral and there was no mention of Edith. Edith always wanted a headstone and Julie never provided one for her. After the funeral she was sat laughing on a bench. We have sat all week through the court case and listened to the evidence. It has been very distressing."

Image caption Edith Negus "lived through the reigns of three kings and a queen" and twice survived being bombed in London, the judge said

She described her great aunt as "a beautiful, kind, lovely woman" who was loved by many friends.

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Recorder Anthony Kelbrick told Sayles: "For merciless fraudsters like you there can be only one sentence: prison.

"You took advantage of her frailty time and time again."

He said Sayles had "coveted" the wealth Mrs Negus had gathered and saved through hard work.

A jury of nine men and three women took less than two hours hours to find her guilty of fraud, buying two properties with the proceeds of crime, as well as making a fraudulent will and presenting it to a solicitor, after a six-day trial.

Margaret Long, a friend of Mrs Negus' for 25 years, said: "The last words Edith said to me were she was very doubtful about Julie."

During the trial, the court heard the former charity worker, who described herself "as a woman of faith", persuaded Mrs Negus to change her will to benefit her.

The jury was told she had made withdrawals of £7,688, £90,000, £40,000 and several withdrawals totalling £150,000 between February and July 2014 after she set up the joint account in January of that year. Mrs Negus died in the October.

Sayles used the money to buy properties - one in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, and another in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

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