Axminster OAP stole £67,000 from sick friend
- Credit: Archant
Former carpet factory worker is jailed for 27 months
A retired Axminster carpet weaver has been jailed for stealing £67,000 from a sick friend when he was left in charge of his finances.
William Stuckey worked with victim David Swift for 30 years at Axminster Carpets and the two men became such close friends they saw each other as brothers.
They played cricket and skittles together and when Mr Swift went into a home after a stroke he gave his friend power of attorney and asked him to move into his home in Axminster and look after his cat.
Stuckey carried on visiting Mr Swift in a care home and made sure all his bills were paid but he was secretly looting his bank account of thousands of pounds.
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He withdrew £37,000 cash over two years and wrote cheques for another £30,000 to pay off debts and fund his everyday living expenses, Exeter Crown Court was told.
The fraud only came to light after Mr Swift, former president of the Axminster Amateur Operatic Society, died in 2011 and his family were shocked to see how little money was left in his bank account.
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Stuckey, aged 68, of Dukes Way, Axminster, admitted committing fraud between March 2009 and May 2011 by abusing his position as power of attorney. He was jailed for 27 months by Recorder Mr Llewllyn Sellick.
He was also ordered to repay the money within three months or face a further two years in jail. Mr Swift left him his £250,000 home in his will, and it is being sold to repay the money.
The Recorder told Stuckey: “There is no other way of regarding what you did as other than a serious breach of trust. Mr Swift had been your friend for more than 30 years at Axminster Carpets and you were said to be like brothers.
“The reality is he trusted you to look after his financial affairs and you effectively helped yourself to his money to pay for your lifestyle. Nearly half was spent on the house, which you knew you were going to inherit and the rest was spent by you or given to your family.
“A psychological report says you suffer from generalised anxiety disorder but that is no excuse for this deliberate dishonest course of conduct over two years.”