The great-nephew of a 93-year-old man who had almost £111,000 stolen by his carer has urged people to ask themselves if it could happen to their elderly relatives.
Stephen Mullen was speaking after Lesley Dorothea Helen Boyd, 56, from Chippendale Avenue in Bangor, pleaded guilty to stealing from Cecil ‘Jock’ McAllister, for whom she had been working as a carer.
The case was heard at Downpatrick Crown Court yesterday.
Mr McAllister was a retired RAF serviceman from Scotland whose wife was from Co Mayo. He retired to Bangor in the late 1970s.
He lived at Spring Hill Avenue until 2007 when he moved into the first of two Co Down care homes he lived in during his final years.
All but one of the offences happened in the first care home.
Ms Boyd pleaded guilty to six charges of fraudulently accepting cheques ranging in value from £100 to £50,000 between April 2009 and June 2010. She also pleaded guilty to stealing £44,000 from him in July 2010.
“They did not have any children, so he [Jock] did not have any regular callers in the care home,” Mr Mullen told the News Letter.
The theft came to light, he said, when Jock made the claim about Ms Boyd, and it was overheard by other carers in the autumn of 2010.
The claim was then investigated by social services.
“He had a few bills getting on top of him at that time,” said Mr Mullen.
Following on from that, Mr Mullen ended up being given power of attorney over his great uncle’s estate.
“Then I checked out his accusations to see if there was any truth in it,” he said.
“And then I took the issue to the PSNI.
“Jock was too frail to be interviewed by police and died in January 2011.
“The only thing that can be learnt from this is that nobody should say ‘that will never happen to me’. Everyone needs to be open to the possibility of this happening to an elderly relative.
“My advice to anyone with concerns would be that it could happen to my father or mother or someone like my great uncle.”
He recommends that people do not be put off by the term ‘power of attorney’.
“It is just a precautionary measure – people should know what it is about. I think it is important to raise awareness about it.”
Mr Mullen praised the police in Bangor and Downpatrick for their handling of the case and, in particular, the detective sergeant. “She gave 100 per cent in her professional capacity and left no stone unturned,” he said.
Ms Boyd has been given continuing bail until sentencing on December 13.