A gardener who ‘systematically plundered’ £170,000 from a 98-year-old widow to pay for holidays, designer watches and a Land Rover has been jailed.
Russell Joy used Mary Brady’s money to pay for trips to Hong Kong and Thailand after earning her trust by running errands, a court heard.
Joy, 45, even persuaded her to cash in bonds worth £230,000 to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Russell Joy (pictured) used Mary Brady’s money to pay for trips to Hong Kong and Thailand after earning her trust by running errands, a court heard
Mrs Brady died earlier this month. Judge Peter Johnson told Joy: ‘She died thinking she had been taken for a fool. You clearly caused her a high degree of stress – this was an incredibly vulnerable person.’
Joy was hired by Mrs Brady as a gardener in 2008. She soon relied on him to do odd jobs at her bungalow in Poole, Dorset, but in December 2014 he started taking money from her account.
He convinced her to write him cheques for up to £100,000 and set up a direct debit from her account to pay his car insurance, Bournemouth Crown Court was told. Mrs Brady also gave Joy access to her bank card and PIN so he could do shopping for her.
Mary Brady (pictured) died earlier this month. Judge Peter Johnson told Joy: ‘She died thinking she had been taken for a fool. You clearly caused her a high degree of stress– this was an incredibly vulnerable person.’
He then withdrew £300 on 107 separate occasions, adding up to £32,100. He stole £169,107 in total. He persuaded her to cash in investment bonds that her late husband had with Aviva and pretended to be her grandson in calls with the insurance company.
Prosecutor Stuart Ellacott told the court Mrs Brady was frail and hard of hearing. He said it was likely she did not fully understand what she was doing when she gave Aviva permission for Joy to speak on her behalf.
He arranged for five policies worth £229,805 to be cashed in, some of which he siphoned for himself.
In November 2015 he had a cheque written for £100,000, which he used for a trip to Hong Kong from December 2015 to February 2016. He also used £12,495 of her money to buy a Land Rover.
The court heard he even made two £300 withdrawals when Mrs Brady was in hospital and wrote another cheque for £20,000 in March 2016 before going on holiday to Thailand. It is believed he also bought 12 designer watches with the stolen money.
He was caught when Mrs Brady’s family looked into her finances to organise care for her after she had two falls. They said she was distraught that she had been so gullible when she discovered the truth.
Joy initially suggested most of the payments were gifts given with Mrs Brady’s full understanding but eventually pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud.
The judge said: ‘This was unadulterated cynical greed. You systematically plundered Mrs Brady’s accounts and at one stage pretended to be her grandson. Using her money you lived a life of luxury.’ He sentenced Joy, of Shapwick in Dorset, to five years and one month in prison.
After the case, Mrs Brady’s family said: ‘He was so believable. We thought he was there caring for her but he gave no thought about her.
‘Mary lived such a wonderful life and Joy’s cruel actions and his abuse of her trust have tainted that. This was a very ugly end to a very beautiful life.’