Man who created false document to steal £2 million from air ambulance charity jailed
A man who created a false document in an attempt to steal more than £2 million intended for an air ambulance charity has today been jailed.
Stewart David Pearman, 75, of Bredon Road, Tewkesbury, was sentenced to five years and three months imprisonment at Worcester Crown Court on 2 February 2023, for fraud and making a false statement on oath.
The CPS brought charges against Pearman following an investigation by West Mercia Police.
In 2015, an elderly woman known to Pearman was diagnosed with terminal cancer and sadly passed away at her home on 7 August 2016.
The deceased wrote a will in 2014, making an air ambulance charity the main beneficiary of her estate. She left £25,000 to Pearman who she had appointed as one of the executors of her will.
Shortly after her death, Pearman produced a document which he titled ‘Letter of Wishes’ to solicitors dealing with her estate, declaring that he was now the sole executor of the will and the main beneficiary.
Pearman suddenly stood to inherit £2,186,079 - significantly more than the £25,000 which she had intended to leave to him in the 2014 will.
Solicitors appointed to process the will raised doubts about the legitimacy of the letter of wishes and an investigation was launched.
It was found that the defendant wrote the letter of wishes shortly before the deceased passed away, and medical evidence from the deceased’s GP confirmed that she did not have mental capacity when the letter was purported to have been signed by her.
Pearman involved two further defendants Aleksander Yuriev Shikov, 35, and Luke William Derrett, 42, to support his criminal behaviour by requesting them to sign the letter of wishes as witnesses.
Shikov and Derrett provided sworn affidavits confirming that they signed the letter of wishes as witnesses after it was signed by the deceased. However, they later confessed that they in fact signed the letter after the deceased had died.
They both pleaded guilty to wilfully making a false statement on oath and were sentenced on 1 February 2023 to four months imprisonment suspended for 12 months.
Gurminder Sanghera, a senior legal manager for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Stewart Pearman betrayed a friendship of 25 years’ and abused his position of trust as an executor of a dying lady’s will, for his own personal benefit. He dishonestly manufactured a forged ‘Letter of Wishes’ so that he would receive an extra £2 million which was intended to benefit an air ambulance charity – and be used to save lives.
“Two other men, Yuriev Shikov and Luke Derrett, assisted Pearman in his gross breach of trust by falsely signing the document as witnesses.
“The CPS work closely with the police, to bring fraudulent offenders like these to justice.”
Detective Constable Simon Timbrell of West Mercia Police, said: “This was a despicable crime that sought to both take advantage of an incredibly vulnerable woman and deny a life-saving charity vital funds.
“We are very pleased the estate will be bequeathed as intended.
“We hope this sentence sends a strong message that anyone seeking to take advantage of vulnerable people, particularly for financial gain, will be prosecuted.”
Notes to editors
- Gurminder Sanghera is a senior legal manager for the CPS Serious Economic Organised and International Directorate (SEOCID)
- SEOCID was launched on 1 April 2022 and is the CPS response to the changing nature of crime by bringing together specialists in organised and economic crime as the lines in this criminality is being blurred even more.
- Stewart David Pearman (DOB: 16/07/47) pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and one count of making a false statement on oath. He was sentenced to five years and four months imprisonment, was ordered to pay back £1,500 towards prosecution costs and pay a victim surcharge
- Aleksandar Yuriev Shikov (DOB: 05/12/86) and Luke William Derrett (DOB: 22/05/80) pleaded guilty to one count of wilfully making a false statement on oath. They were both sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 60 hours of unpaid work, must pay £510 towards prosecution costs and pay a victim surcharge.