Son Left Elderly Mother in Squalid Home Conditions Whilst Helping Himself to her Savings
A retired security guard officer from Suffolk is facing jail after being convicted of fraud and neglect of his elderly mother. Brian Matthews, 75 is on bail awaiting sentencing on the 20th February 2015 after the court heard he left his 96 year old mother, who lived in Essex, in home conditions described by a police officer as “the worst he’d ever seen.”
The court heard how she was left with no heating, lighting, hot water, a telephone or even a working toilet during 2010 – 2013. The abuse was discovered when another relative visited the woman and alerted social services.
In addition to the horrendous physical neglect of his mother, Matthews also left her in poverty although she received three separate pensions. He diverted over £18,000 into his own bank account as he was registered as his mother’s attorney.
The power of attorney was revoked by the Court of Protection in April 2013 after the financial abuse came to light but it is not known whether Matthews will be forced to repay the money he took from her.
Helen Dandridge, a solicitor at Ridley & Hall, said:
“This is a truly horrendous case of both physical and financial abuse. Unfortunately in many cases of financial abuse, it is often relatives who prey on vulnerable elderly relatives.”
She went on to say:
“It should serve as a warning to people; if you are considering a power of attorney, you need to carefully consider who the right choice is for you. Once you have an attorney in place, you should review whether they remain appropriate for you.”
As long as you still have capacity to give instructions to a solicitor, you can revoke a power of attorney at any time and appoint new attorneys if necessary.
If you do not have capacity, or you are concerned about a relative without capacity being exploited by an attorney, you need to report your concerns to the Office for the Public Guardian (OPG). They can investigate matters, including sending specially trained advisors to speak to the vulnerable person. Where necessary they can assist in Court of Protection proceedings to remove an attorney.
Ridley & Hall’s specialist solicitors have experience of dealing with financial abuse cases and concerns regarding attorneys or deputies. We have the expertise to handle these cases with the sensitivity they require.
These cases are complicated and often require a detailed investigation of the circumstances, so it is important that you contact us as soon as possible on 0843 289 4640 or via e-mail.
For further information, the OPG’s policy on safeguarding vulnerable adults can be found here.