Man jailed for 40 months for defrauding his dementia suffering grand-mother

19/02/2015

Guy Houghton, 49, from Folkestone was today at Swindon Crown Court sentenced to 40 months' imprisonment and four months for defrauding his grandmother Beatrice Houghton of over £500,000. She suffered from dementia and died in 2012, aged 99.

Following the sentence, Sharon Douglass, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex said: "Guy Houghton breached the trust his elderly grandmother Beatrice Houghton placed in him by acting dishonestly in dealing with her financial affairs to his own benefit resulting in defrauding her of over £500,000.

"She lived for a time with him and his wife in his previous home near Malmesbury  where she had been treated well and cared for. She was moved to a nursing home in Gloucestershire in February 2005.

"In March 2005, she signed an Enduring Power of Attorney in favour of her grand-son to deal with her affairs. She had substantial financial means including her family home in Weybridge, Surrey. Other than the care home fees, her personal needs at that time were modest.

"Her health started to deteriorate and she began to suffer from dementia. She was then transferred to another nursing home in Braydon near Swindon in December 2005.

"When his grand-mother no longer had the capacity to administer her financial affairs, Guy Houghton was supposed to register the Enduring Power of Attorney document with the Office of the Public Guardian, however he failed to do so. It is at that time when her condition worsened that it seemed he took advantage of the situation as he had sole control over her financial affairs. (Beatrice Houghtons two sons, his father and uncle, were living abroad). He dealt with his grand-mothers finances until her death in February 2012.

"The evidence showed that Guy Houghton withdrew substantial and regular sums of money from his grand-mother's accounts to fund his business and personal purchases both here and abroad. The sale of Beatrice Houghtons Weybridge home was completed in October 2005 and two months later Guy Houghton bought a house Rosebank in Malmesbury with the proceeds of the sale.

"In the meantime, payments to the care home became sporadic with some cheques being returned unpaid. Guy Houghton made himself increasingly difficult to contact and following his grand-mothers death over £19,000 in care fees were still outstanding. The care home was concerned about a potential fraud and contacted Wiltshire Police, he was then arrested and charged after a file of evidence was reviewed by the CPS.

"This prosecution demonstrates that the CPS takes cases of fraud very seriously especially where elderly victims are involved and we work closely with the police to prosecute vigorously offenders when there is sufficient evidence and when it is in the public interest."