Council probed pensioner’s ‘missing £100,000 savings’, trial hears

Lesley and Andrew Reeve arrive at Teesside Crown Court for the start of their trial.
Lesley and Andrew Reeve arrive at Teesside Crown Court for the start of their trial.

A SENIOR council care manager told a trial how she became concerned at unaccounted money from a pensioner’s bank and savings accounts.

Janet Dickinson, of Hartlepool Borough Council, told how 91-year-old Joan Killen’s finances were referred to the authority’s safeguarding team and later the police after her godson, Andrew Reeve, failed to explain what had happened to Miss Killen’s dwindling savings.

Andrew Reeve, 55, and wife Lesley Reeve, 56, are standing trial at Teesside Crown Court accused of stealing more than £100,000 from Miss Killen, who developed dementia, by transferring her money into their own bank account and spending it.

The court heard that some of the money was spent on a garage conversion of the couple’s home in Chichester Close, in the Fens area of Hartlepool.

Ms Dickinson said: “There were monies that were unaccounted for and we were simply trying to find an explanation what had happened to those monies.

“Because of the lack of response from Mr and Mrs Reeve the case was referred to safeguarding and a multi- disciplinary meeting which involved lots of professionals, myself, social workers and the police to look at the best way forward.”

The court heard that a few days after the meeting in February 2011, the council had to send £60 to Miss Killen for everyday spending because she was not receiving a regular personal allowance.

Miss Killen’s finances came under council scrutiny after she went into care in November 2009, initially as a temporary resident.

The jury heard that around the same time Andrew Reeve removed safety equipment installed by the council from her home despite the fact she may still have been able to go home.

Miss Killen was formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s type dementia in September 2011.

But at a meeting with the Reeves, their solicitor and the council in March 2011, they said Miss Killen had consented to them using her money to develop both their homes and she was mentally capable at that time.

In a later letter to Ms Dickinson the couple’s solicitor said: “She wanted to see them have the benefit of some monies. There were no health issues at that time which would indicate future need for care, merely making a gift out of care.

“They spent the majority of the gifted monies on updating their own property so Miss Killen could come and live with them.

“They always put Miss Killen’s interests first.”

Andrew and Lesley Reeve deny four counts of theft and the trial continues.