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March 19, 2012

Mother and Son Stole £1,200 From Dying Man (UK)

Bristol Evening Post

A 29-YEAR-OLD who stole more than £1,200 from a terminally ill man has received a suspended prison sentence.
Jonathan Fuller, who is deaf, was the "legs" in a scheme he and his mother Patricia, 52, concocted after being given the victim's cash card.
Terminally ill Ian Swateridge, 59, who had previously been in a relationship with Mrs Fuller and had acted as "step-dad" to her two sons, gave the family his cash card before he went into a hospice.
The pair, of Chelsea Park, Easton were entrusted to use the card to access his benefits on his behalf but instead plundered his account and shared the cash.
Both admitted stealing £1,270 between September 16 and October 13 last year.
At Bristol Magistrates' Court Ian Jackson, prosecuting, said: "Mr Swateridge was expecting to be admitted to a hospice for a terminal illness and gave his Post Office account card to close friend Patricia Fuller.
"He wanted them to withdraw his benefits and take them to him at the hospice.
"Patricia Fuller is unable to walk due to disability and is in a wheelchair so gave the card to Jonathan Fuller so he could withdraw the money.
"Jonathan Fuller would give the money to his mother and it was divided between them. During the weeks Mr Swateridge was in the hospice he only received £40 in cash and some tobacco that cost £4."
Mr Jackson described how Mr Swateridge would have his £192.65 benefits put into his account and then Jonathan Fuller would go to Lawrence Hill post office and the post office in Stapleton Road to remove the funds in different amounts. Mr Jackson added: "Mr Swateridge became distressed about his money and informed the nurses at the hospice who in turn informed social services and the police.
Mr Jackson said Fuller and his mother were arrested.
The court heard that Mr Fuller, who is deaf, had 26 previous convictions for theft.
Mrs Fuller had six offences of fraud recorded against her in 2001.
John Search, defending, explained that Mrs Fuller and Mr Swateridge had once been in a relationship with him acting as a "step-dad" to her sons.
He said the relationship had become "volatile" and Mrs Fuller now had a restraining order against Mr Swateridge.
"Mrs Fuller told me that what she and her son did was "either revenge or payback," said Mr Search.
"Jonathan, who was simply "the legs" in the operation, was trying to help his mother, who needed money."
He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. He must also undertake six months' supervision and a four-month curfew from 8pm to 6am.
He was ordered to pay £635.30 compensation to Mr Swateridge and £85 court costs. The sentencing of Mrs Fuller was adjourned until April 11 so that a pre-sentence report can be carried out.

 SOURCE:      This Is Bristol
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