Hereford woman stole £18,000 from blind and vulnerable mother

AN “ASTONISHINGLY selfish” daughter has escaped a prison sentence after she stole £18,000 from her blind mother.

Nicola Jane James, 52, stole the money from the 87-year-old’s ISA savings account after getting into debt through gambling, Hereford Crown Court heard on Friday.

James, of Pixley Walk in Hereford, was told by the judge that she acted in an “astonishingly selfish and predatory way” as he sentenced her to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.

The court was told by prosecution barrister Abigail Nixon the sum had been taken from the victim’s bank account between between January 1, 2017 and the end of December 2019, but she had “shown distress” that her daughter could go to prison.

Miss Nixon said James had a problem with gambling and had racked up debts in the thousands.

Defence barrister Suzanne Francis said the bank had paid the victim back in full, so any compensation should be paid back to RBS instead.

She said James had been struggling with depression and for the last year had been unable to work, and she did not have any previous convictions.

Judge Jim Tindal said James was ultimately responsible for her actions and told her that her family “probably don’t think much of you”.

“Apparently you were struggling financially and struggling with depression,” Judge Tindall said.

“That is true of many people at the moment, but very few steal £18,000 from their mother.”

The judge said that for stealing £18,000 from her blind, vulnerable mother, James should also take part in 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days to work on the gambling problem that fuelled the offending.

James, who pleaded guilty to one count of theft, was told she must repay the bank in full, but was spared paying court costs due to a lack of means.

Hereford Times