‘Manipulative’ former carer jailed for stealing from vulnerable victim

A MAN who swindled more than £2,000 from an elderly dementia sufferer to fund his “extravagant” lifestyle has been jailed for 18 months.

Brian Hughes, 59, stole £2,204 from 79-year-old Beryl Cavanagh over four-and-a-half months while she was living in a Todmorden nursing home.

For more than a year, he was a carer for Mrs Cavanagh. The pair became friends in 2006.

Bradford Crown Court heard the family trusted Hughes so much, they moved Mrs Cavanagh into Hughes’ Mixenden flat with him in 2007.

By August 2008, due to her dementia, Hughes said he could no longer be her carer and she was moved into a nursing home in Todmorden. Just four days after she moved in, Hughes starting stealing from his vulnerable victim.

He made cash withdrawals from machines in Hebden Bridge and Halifax and even paid five months of internet dating fees with her card.

The crime only came to light when staff at the Bradford and Bingley building society noticed Hughes bullying Mrs Cavanagh. A cashier raised the alarm saying Mrs Cavanagh was confused why she was attempting to withdraw £750.

Hughes, who now lives in Batley, was arrested on January 10, but continued to plead his innocence, even attempting to blame Neil Cavanagh.

He pleaded guilty to 19 counts of theft. Mrs Cavanagh died in September 2010.

Recorder Abdul Iqbal said Hughes knew Mrs Cavanagh had a deteriotating mental state. “What you did, over that period, was to take advantage of a vulnerable and debilitated woman.

“You are a manipulative man.”

Kenneth Greene, for Hughes, asked for the sentence to be suspended but Recorder Iqbal said he had no choice but to pass a custodial sentence.