Ninfield man who stole thousands from his vulnerable father is spared jail

The trial began today at Lewes Crown Court
The trial began today at Lewes Crown Court

A Ninfield man who stole tens of thousands from his vulnerable father after his mother died has been spared jail.

Peter Taylor was living a care home in Eastbourne and was unable to take care of his own affairs when his son Jonathan took advantage of him to steal from him using power of attorney, a court was told.

The money was supposed to have been spent on his father’s care, and the theft left East Sussex County Council to pick up the bill, according to prosecutors.

Jonathan Taylor, 49, of The Green in Ninfield was convicted of fraud last month and appeared at Lewes Crown Court this morning for sentencing.

The court heard the crime was a ‘mean offence’ and ‘born out of misplaced trust’.

Ross Talbot, representing Taylor, said: “The reality is Mr Taylor and his wife have been accepted for a loan to repay the money so East Sussex County Council are completely paid back.

“But that is based on Mr Taylor’s job and were he to be incarcerated East Sussex County Council would be waiting much longer.”

He noted Taylor’s previous good character and said he was a ‘hardworking, loving family man’.

He asked that Taylor – a grandfather – be given a suspended prison sentence instead of being sent immediately to jail.

Sentencing Taylor, Mr Recorder Stephen Lennard said: “This is a sad case born out of ultimately misplaced trust by a father at the time of the case of loss of his wife and the loss of the ability to look after himself.

“It was undoubtedly a mean offence.”

However he noted Taylor’s previous good character and decided not to send him immediately into custody.

Instead Taylor was given a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years.

An order under the Proceeds of Crime Act was made and Taylor was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £3,500.