Thief facing unpaid work

Kenneth Wager
Kenneth Wager

A GAMBLING addict who fleeced an ex-partner and her Alzheimer’s suffering mum out of more than £13,000 could face working off his crime.

Conman Kenneth Wager appeared at Teesside Crown Court yesterday after previously admitting stealing and gambling away £13,457 from the two victims.

His former partner, who looks after her mum’s money affairs, told of the devastating impact the case has had on her and her family in a statement that was read out in court.

The woman, who the Hartlepool Mail decided not to name to protect her elderly mother, said she has suffered depression and her relationships with members of her own family have broken down as a result of wrongly coming under suspicion.

Wager stole the money, including £11,585 of the elderly woman’s life savings, after getting hold of the victims’ bank cards which he was not allowed access to.

He has been told he is likely to keep his freedom with a suspended prison sentence but the judge wants him to do unpaid community work as punishment.

But sentencing was put on hold because probation chiefs want to wait for the outcome of medical tests to see if Wager is fit for the work.

In the statement read out by prosecutor Joseph Spencer, Wager’s ex-partner said the case had caused her stress, sleepless nights, depression and family disagreements.

The letter stated: “I’m responsible for my mother’s financial affairs which I’m trusted by my family and the public guardianship, which has taken a set back causing family disagreements, and stress upon myself.

“I have had sleepless nights, anxiety and depression, which has had an impact on my family and at work.

“Kenneth Wager went into my mother’s personal private cupboard where I kept her mailing and correspondence and he had taken her pin number and stolen the card from my purse and helped himself on many occasions.

“I also had a breakdown in relationship with my own son as he felt under suspicion for this crime.

“I would like people to be aware of the impact this has had on myself and family.”

The court heard Wager’s partner kept her mother’s PIN number in a kitchen cupboard together with other personal information.

Mr Spencer said: “It appears the defendant went into the cupboard, into an envelope, took the PIN or memorised the PIN and stole the elderly woman’s bank card.

“He wasn’t allowed access to her card.”

Wager, who used to work with Alzheimer’s sufferers, also helped himself to his partner’s bank card and stole £1,871.84 without her consent.

He intercepted bank statements to try and prevent his partner from discovering what he was doing.

But Wager’s deception came to light when she received a call from her bank saying she was overdrawn.

The money went to feed Wager’s gambling addiction. He was a regular customer at Coral bookmakers, in Seaton Lane, Hartlepool.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said: “He did, though he’s not keen to admit it, have something of a gambling problem.

“It’s his intention when this matter has been resolved that he pays back the money he owes.”

Judge Peter Armstrong said: “The medical report is saying you are fit for work which is what I think you ought to be doing.”

Wager, of Stirling Street, Hartlepool, was released on bail until Friday, March 30.