Seaton nurse stole £47,000 from boyfriend's parents

PUBLISHED: 09:06 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:10 11 January 2019

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Archant

Suspended jail sentence for woman who took cash from couple's life savings

A nurse from Seaton who looted the £47,000 life savings from her boyfriend’s parents and spent it on cars and holidays has received a suspended jail sentence.

Jane Palmer set up an internet banking facility for victims Thomas and Eunice Garrett and used it to empty their bank accounts over an 11 month period.

She was trusted by the couple because she was going out with their son Luke Garrett and they felt a sense of betrayal after finding out their money had been taken.

Palmer promised to repay the money if they did not go to the police but failed to do so and later claimed Mr Garrett had given her the cash.

The couple, from East Devon, have not been left out of pocket because they were refunded by Lloyds Bank, which has born the loss. Nothing has been repaid.

Grandmother Palmer works as a nurse at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital but has been off sick with stress and depression since the thefts came to light.

She had been going out with the Garrett’s son for three years when she started stealing the money in May 2014. She made dozens of transfers ranging from £300 to £5,000 until the fraud was uncovered in April 2015.

Palmer, aged 51, of Bluebell Close, Seaton, admitted eight counts of fraud and was jailed for 20 months, suspended for two years, by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court.

He told her: “As a result of your relationship with Luke Garrett, you met his parents who became friends and held you in high regard. You were trusted by them.

“Unhappily, for some reason basically known only to yourself, in early 2014, you set up internet banking for them, you have some of your own contact details to Lloyds.

“Shortly afterwards, and over a period of almost a year, you pilfered £47,000 from their life savings, which was money they had received in redundancy and the like.

“Precisely where all that money went is not known, but some you spent on cars and holidays and part of this, it is said, was to please Luke Garrett.

“This was transaction after transaction. and it is perhaps fortunate that the money has been refunded by Lloyds. This was a shabby fraud.”

Mr Peter Coombe, prosecuting, said Palmer set up the internet banking facility for Mr and Mrs Garrett but they never used it and only realised what was happening when they found the money missing from their accounts.

It represented their life savings, cash from redundancy payments made to both, and an inheritance. Palmer and her parents offered to repay it but filed to do so and the police were called in.

Mr Coombe said:”They made a victim impact statement which shows the extent of the breach of trust they felt. At the time, she was a close family friend.

“They say they cooked meals for her and sat drinking coffee with her, all the time without knowing she taking money from them behind their backs.

“The fact she knew she could get away with it weighed heavily on their minds and they were shocked and saddened when they found out. They felt betrayed.”

Lee Bremridge, said Palmer had already been diagnosed with depression and low self esteem before she took the money and has since received treatment from the mental health services.

He said she left school without qualifications but too degrees with Plymouth University and the Open University to enable her to have a long and successful career in nursing.

He said she is currently on long term sick but hopes she will be able to return to work once the stress of this case is over. She has the support of her parents, her three sons, and has been assessed as being at very low risk of reoffending.

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