Nottingham

Worksop fraudster said KFC was on victim's 'bucket list'

KFC chicken Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Debbie Newbury told police KFC transactions on the elderly woman's bank statements were because it was on her "bucket list"

A woman who swindled a 94-year-old dementia sufferer out of her life savings told police the reason KFC was on her bank statements was because it was on her victim's "bucket list".

Debbie Newbury stole £45,000 from Margaret Hartson over three years, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Newbury, 32, was found out in 2017 when Mrs Hartson's bank raised the alarm.

She pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud on the day of her trial in June and has been jailed for 15 months.

Newbury, of Church Mews, Worksop, used 36 cheques to transfer money from Mrs Harston's savings into three of her own accounts between January 2014 and December 2016.

Prosecuting, Phillip Plant said Newbury used the money for "day-to-day expenses and purchases" but claimed some of the money went towards "outings and treats" for Mrs Hartson.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Margaret Hartson lived at home alone at the time and needed a carer's help

Mrs Hartson, of Retford, Nottinghamshire, later had to sell her house and was taken into care home, a relative told the BBC.

The family member, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "She's [Newbury] destroyed her life.

"She has robbed her of whatever dignity she had in her final days when she should have been in her own home."

They said relatives had concerns Mrs Hartson was being neglected.

"With having dementia, she could take full advantage of her. There is no way she would be going to KFC."

'Serious dishonesty'

The court heard Newbury had a previous suspended sentence in 2011 for stealing jewellery from homes when she worked as a cleaner.

Judge Gregory Dickinson QC said: "You committed this serious dishonesty by taking large amounts from a lady who was relying on you to help her."

Det Con Jason Jenkins, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "During her first interview, she said she bought KFC because it had been on Mrs Hartson's bucket list.

"Carers are supposed to be looking after vulnerable people, not ripping them off."

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