A court has jailed a British woman, Kathryn Walker for squandering more than £450,000 her son left in his will for someone else.
Kathryn soldier son, Richard Walker died on duty in Afghanistan in 2013 and left the money for someone.
Kathryn who wasted the money on “extravagant” purchases, was entrusted as executor of the will. A court heard the items she used the money on included vehicles, caravans, horses, private number plates and paying off her own debts, reports Chronicle Live.
The fraud came to light after a relative of the intended beneficiary heard gossip that Kathryn had become “minted” following the death of her son, Sapper Walker.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the sum left by Sapper Walker, after deductions, amounted to £455,774. A cheque for that amount was paid to Walker in 2014. When the intended beneficiary’s representative didn’t get statements about the money, she became concerned and tried to make inquiries through Walker’s solicitors but was told they couldn’t help her.
Prosecutor Nick Lane said;
“Several years later she bumped into someone who passed on information that Kathryn Walker was supposed to be ‘minted’ since her son’s death. She had recently bought horses and stables.
“This concerned (the woman) because she understood from Mr Walker that his mum was not good with money. She had survived on benefits and had borrowed money from her son.”
The woman asked lawyers to investigate the money and letters were sent to Kathryn, 56, asking her to provide information but no response was received. She also failed to respond to an order from Newcastle probate registry requiring she provide an inventory of the estate.
After enforcement action was started in 2020, Kathryn contacted the woman’s solicitors by phone, saying she had invested the funds in a caravan park but the business failed and she lost it.
Police were informed and checks showed that within four months of getting the money she had dispersed the funds. She put £137,000 into another account she had and spent £237,000 buying caravans in Whitley Bay. She also took out more than £30,000 in cash.
She had also bought private number plates, vehicles, spent £10,000 on supermarkets and £800 on Sunderland Football Club. She then sold the seven caravans she had bought at a loss of £161,000.
When she was interviewed, Kathryn denied squandering the money. She said she had spent £18,000 on a memorial garden at her home and had cleared personal debts and rent arrears. She had also paid for a friend’s child to receive medical treatment abroad.
“She accepted she knew the money was not hers to spend. She said she was sorry for her actions.”
The intended beneficiary’s representative said in a victim impact statement:
“She has totally breached her position of trust by using this money for her own benefit.
“To find answers I hired a private investigator and I also had to pay £6,000 in solicitors fees.”
Kathryn who pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of trust, was jailed for three years and four months. At her sentencing, Judge Julie Clemitson said;
“At the age of 56 years old without having been in court before, it’s a tragedy you appear here today in respect of such a serious offence.
“Some of it was spent in an altruistic fashion – you paid for medical treatment for a friend’s child. Some of it was spent on pure extravagance including a private number plate and horse box.
“You had spent the entirety of the inheritance and there’s now absolutely nothing left. This was a fraud which took place over a sustained period of time and it was a gross breach of trust. It is the loss of a life-changing sum of money.”