Woman spared jail after taking her sick father’s money

11:45 01 June 2010

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Judge slams woman who “behaved shamefully” pocketing her sick father’s money

A WOMAN who raided her 79-year-old father’s accounts after he had a stroke was told by a judge that she had “behaved shamefully”.

But Alison Harrowell was spared an immediate jail sentence because her father had told police that although he felt “disgusted” with what she had done he did not want her to go to prison.

Harrowell, 51, from Cooks Way, Hitchin pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to three charges of deception and one of converting criminal property.

On Friday she was given a prison sentence of one year suspended for a year with supervision and 200 hours unpaid work.

Daniel Siong, prosecuting, said that in 2005 David Harrowell had a stroke and was admitted to the Meppershall Nursing Home, and was paying for his own care from savings and pensions.

But in 2006 a crisis meeting was held between the home and social services because he was in arrears with fees.

His daughter handed over his debit card, which ultimately led to the discovery that she had transferred money from his savings into a bank account that she could make ATM withdrawals from.

She was arrested in July 2009 and admitted she had used some of the money for herself.

Judge Richard Foster said he was sentencing her on the basis that she had taken a little over £40,000.

He told her: “Your father was vulnerable and relied on his family to care for his finances. You breached that trust in the most gross way. It was shameful behaviour.

“But I am persuaded I can sentence you to a punishment that does not involve sending you to prison.”

Nicholas Beechey, defending, said: “She has tried to fill a void in her life with material things. She has been receiving counselling for the issues that underline her behaviour.

“She has a sad personal history and an almost child-like aspect to her character.

“But she has learnt her lesson and has written a letter that she hopes can be sent to her father. She has also put aside money to compensate him.”

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