Clergyman uses power of attorney to steal £60k

Reverend Peter Hesketh, aged 65 from Worcestershire, has been found guilty of using a power of attorney to steal over £60,000 from a vulnerable pensioner.

The Catholic deacon was given a three year prison sentence, after the court heard how he convinced Peter Court to sign over a power of attorney to him so he could help him invest his life savings to earn large profits. However, the deacon stole £61,429 and used it for gambling, to pay off the mortgage on his home, and to book the venue for his daughter's wedding.

Mr Court, who suffered from dementia, died at the age of 75 in 2007, and his family soon became aware that a large amount of money was missing from his account. Mr Hesketh claimed that he had been given money to manage Mr Court's finances, but the judge rejected that defence as "preposterous". He was given a three year prison sentence.

Powers of Attorney are a useful tool for when someone is becoming incapable to manage their own affairs, though it is important to take legal advice, and to make family aware of any decision you make. For information on Powers of Attorney, Will writing, inheritance tax, or any other related matter, contact one of the solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt in Northern Ireland by calling 0800 840 9293.