Carer who stole £300k from vulnerable elderly woman jailed for 9 years

By Lenore Rice

A woman who has been given a 9 year jail sentence for stealing nearly £300,000 from a vulnerable 102-year-old woman that she was caring form, and for making a fraudulent Will and presenting it to a solicitor.

Julie Sayles, aged 59 from Bridlington in East Yorkshire, ran a charity called Friends of the Elderly Bridlington, and began to care for Edith Negus when her physical and mental health began to deteriorate and her own family were unable to provide care for her. Ms Sayles became aware that Ms Negus had saved a "considerable fortune", and in 2014 she set up a joint account with Ms Negus. She began transferring money into the joint account from Ms Negus's savings account, and between February and July 2014 she had made several withdrawals totalling £287,688. The money was used to buy two properties.

Following Ms Negus's death in October 2014, Ms Sayles presented two Wills to a solicitor, which left the majority of her estate to the carer, as well as referring to a £250,000 gift that had already been made. A neighbour alerted the authorities after overhearing a conversation between Ms Negus and Ms Sayles in which the latter discussed making a new Will leaving her estate to her. Hull Crown Court found Ms Sayles guilty of fraud by abuse of position, buying properties with the proceeds of crime, and making a fraudulent Will and presenting it to a solicitor.

Recorder Anthony Kelbrick called Ms Sayles a "merciless fraudster" and sentenced her to 9 years in prison.

Crime involving an element of elder abuse is on the increase, and is said to be one of the least addressed areas of crime. The crimes will not always involve violence, though some do, and common examples are:

  • stealing or pressurising someone to hand over money
  • making decisions without consulting the person involved
  • treating someone in a way that makes them feel threatened, belittled or embarrassed
  • touching someone in a way they don’t want to be touched
  • physically hurting someone
  • neglecting someone’s needs

 

If you have experienced some form of abuse and have spoken to the person involved without seeing any change in their behaviour, or if you are concerned that someone is suffering a form of elder abuse you should:

  • Call the police if you think a crime has been committed or that the person is in immediate danger
  • Contact the local council if the concern of abuse relates to a person in a care home
  • Call the UK Action on Elder Abuse helpline on 0808 8088 141