Saturday, 3 Jun 2023

Pensioner, 91, plunged into debt after 'callous' granddaughter stole her savings

A woman stole tens of thousands of pounds from her grandmother, blowing it on takeaways, William Hill bets and a trip to Amsterdam.

Amanda Farr, 48, spent more than £24,000 on iTunes, Playstation, McDonald’s and Just Eat among other luxuries in thousands of transactions over two years.

It belonged to Joyce Hutchings, who was plunged into crippling debt because of her granddaughter’s crimes.

When quizzed about the spending, she blamed the 91-year-old claiming she was a ‘big eater’ of oriental cuisine who ‘liked her food’.

Canterbury Crown Court was told that as a result, the victim, accrued large debts with energy and water companies, some of which rose to above £3,000.

Farr, who previously worked as an accountant, said the bank transfers were all an above-board arrangement.

She claimed the family operated on a one-pot system where money was pooled, but in reality, she was stealing her grandmother’s post to defraud her.

Energy providers and the bank would write letters to Ms Hutchings, which Farr would then steal, and hide under the bed.

One of Farr’s electronic devices even contained a calendar noting the dates the victim’s pension was paid to her account.

Prosecutor Kieran Brand told the court: ‘There was no arrangement for you to take over the family finances and there was no discussion with Joyce about what you were doing with her money.’

Farr replied under cross-examination: ‘Yes there was.’

Mr Brand added: ‘Which is why you were trying to cover your tracks. You were intercepting her and your mother’s post, you intercepted the post didn’t you?

‘You were hiding [the bills] weren’t you? Because you were spending money on holidays and gambling. Which is why [the bills] were tucked away under your bed.’

Farr responded: ‘No, it wasn’t under my bed.’

Farr, formerly of Croydon, south London, was arrested and charged with fraud in late 2019.

Around three-and-half years later, she pleaded not guilty, but was jailed for 18 months after being convicted by a jury.

Stewart Ross-Cumming, a financial investigator for the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘The sentencing of Amanda Farr is a testament to the hard work of law enforcement and outside agencies in relentlessly pursuing and disrupting those who exploit vulnerable members of the public.

‘Farr’s offending was simply callous and calculated with no consideration for the impact this was having on her victim. Nobody should think they can avoid justice when exploiting members of the public.

‘Kent Police was determined that justice was sought and the sentence now handed down reflects the impact of this offending.’

A hearing to confiscate the stolen money will be held at a later date.

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