Buxton man stole from elderly neighbour

High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.
High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.

A Buxton man stole almost £500 from an elderly vulnerable neighbour he had offered to help out, a court heard.

Mark Hamilton befriended Marie Jagger, who was in poor health and lived down the road from him on Kinder Way in Fairfield, High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard.

He began by helping her out with jobs such as cutting the grass and running errands for her, prosecutor Jennifer Fitzgerald said. He then started asking for her bank cards so he could pay bills for her.

Ms Jagger, who was in and out of hospital, provided Hamilton with her cards and pin numbers so he could manage her finances but on November 5 last year, she discovered that she had no money in her bank account, which she knew to be wrong, Mrs Fitzgerald added.

Police were contacted and checked her bank statements as well as CCTV footage from cash machines which showed Hamilton withdrawing money.

In interview, Hamilton denied taking any money for himself but later changed his story when shown the CCTV.

He then admitted taking £201.85 in two transactions on October 30, £261.32 in two transactions on November 1 and a further £30 on November 4, a total of £493.17.

The 22-year-old admitted theft.

Kirsten Collings, defending, said: “Mark Hamilton admits taking the money from the bank accounts.

“The relationship with this victim started off as a genuine relationship with him trying to help her.

“He also admits that his behaviour amounts to a breach of trust with a vulnerable victim.

“In many aspects, he is vulnerable himself. He was picked on throughout his early life.

“He has body tourette’s which causes him a huge amount of difficulty.

“He is disgusted with himself.”

Sentencing him, District Judge Andrew Davidson said: “This was an elderly lady that you befriended and that you supported, who was grateful for your support early on thinking you were a very public-spirited person in helping her by cutting her grass or helping with her shopping.

“Unfortunately she foolishly gave you her pin numbers and you took advantage of that and stole at least £493.17.

“The offence is so serious only custody can be justified but I will suspend it.”

Hamilton was jailed for 16 weeks, suspended for 12 months.

He was given a 12-month supervision order, 100 hours unpaid work and must pay £493.17 compensation, and an £80 surcharge.