Hartlepool teen used stolen bank card to raid 95-year-old dementia sufferer's account

A teenage fraudster withdrew over £700 from a 95-year-old dementia sufferer's bank account within hours of her card being stolen.

Wednesday, 26th October 2016, 8:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th October 2016, 3:10 pm
The Tesco Express in Wiltshire Way, Hartlepool

Charlie Dunn, aged 19, was locked up for a year at Teesside Crown Court yesterday after a judge said Dunn had been part of the deliberate targeting of an “extremely vulnerable” woman.

Dunn used Betty Thompson’s bank card just four hours after it was stolen from her home to withdraw £720 from her account.

The court heard Mrs Thompson had the early onset of dementia at the time of the offence on July 27 last year, but up until then had still managed to live independently.

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But afterwards, she deteriorated and died five months later.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said Mrs Thompson’s card was stolen after she was seen talking to a suspicious man at her home at around 10am.

Mr Towers said: “At about 2pm the defendant used Mrs Thompson’s card at the Tesco Express ATM, Wiltshire Way, and in swift succession over the course of two minutes he withdrew from her account sums of £500, £20 and £200.”

The withdrawals were recorded on CCTV and Dunn, of Wordsworth Avenue, Hartlepool, was recognised by a Police Community Support Officer.

He pleaded guilty to fraud but denied he had stolen the card claiming he had been given it while working as a labourer to withdraw money for materials. But he accepted knowing it had been obtained dishonestly.

His own barrister Stephen Constantine accepted it was a “deplorable” offence.

In mitigation, Mr Constantine said: “He tells me he is thoroughly ashamed when he learned the full facts and shown as much remorse as he possibly could.”

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said: “Mrs Thompson was an elderly lady when this offence took place.

“After this offence all her self confidence left and the few months remaining essentially of her life were made more miserable as a result of this offence.”