In a case which starkly revealed that vulnerable old people cannot always rely on their nearest and dearest, the callous daughter and grandson of a dementia sufferer have been stripped of lasting powers of attorney in respect of her finances and welfare after substantial sums were plundered from her bank account.
The confused 81-year-old woman, who lived in a care home, received £245-a-week in state benefits and occupational pension; however, almost every penny had been whisked away by her grandson to fund his business and lifestyle. His mother had colluded with him in his emotional and financial abuse of the old lady.
The grandmother had no computer but an online bank account had been opened in her name which was regularly milked by her grandson, who used it to pay his own grocery and gas bills, as well as subscriptions to a broadband and television provider and even a dating website. During a period of five months, over £2,400 had been paid out of the account, either to the grandson or his company, and there had also been numerous withdrawals from cash machines.
The Court of Protection observed: “This case is a salient reminder of how easy it is for someone unscrupulous, who is internet savvy, to dupe an elderly person who is clueless about such matters…the grandson callously and cynically manipulated her bank account to his own advantage. By allowing his grandmother to retain a paltry sum of £20-a-month for her own use and enjoyment, he prevented her from socialising with others of her age group and participating in activities of her choice”.
Ordering that the mother and grandson should have no further control over the old lady’s affairs, the Court ruled: “The revocation of the lasting powers of attorney is in her best interests…it is a necessary and proportionate response for the prevention of crime and for the protection of her right to have her financial affairs managed competently, honestly and for her benefit”.
The future management of the grandmother’s finances and welfare was entrusted by the Court to Suffolk County Council whose investigation had uncovered the mother and grandson’s abuse of their position.