Fakenham woman jailed for stealing cash from 92-year-old mother

The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane. ENGANL00120120910143711

The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane. ENGANL00120120910143711

A Fakenham woman has been jailed for 12 months for stealing more than £50,000 from her elderly mother, even refusing to pay for a new set of teeth.

Anita Howell, 65, of Plantation Road in the town, was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court today, having pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud at a hearing last month.

The case relates to the affairs of Howell’s mother, Vera Heritage, who died last year, aged 92, after suffering with dementia.

The court heard Howell took out a power of attorney to manage her mother’s finances when Mrs Heritage moved in with her in 2006.

The following year, Howell moved Mrs Heritage into the Barley Court sheltered housing complex in Costessey, saying she could no longer cope and had made arrangements to meet expenses.

However, she subsequently stopped providing money, forcing staff to repeatedly ask her for funds. They even provided food and new clothes for Mrs Heritage, after Howell refused to do so.

And Mrs Heritage was even left without a set of bottom teeth for a year after Howell refused to have them replaced, meaning she struggled to eat.

Following the hearing, police revealed that the extent of Howell’s theft only came to light in 2014, when she admitted to social workers that she had been taking £250 from Mrs Heritage’s account every two weeks.

In total, she stole £57,000 between October 2008 and August 2014 and spent it on her own bills.

In a statement issued after today’s hearing, Det Con Gemma Weeks, of Norfolk Police’s Adult Abuse Investigation Unit who carried out the investigation, said: “This is a callous crime,

“Anita Howell abused the position that she held as power of attorney to her vulnerable mother. Instead of managing her mother’s money in her best interests and providing for her, Mrs Howell used the money very much to further her own interests.

“We will continue to work with partner agencies to protect the most vulnerable members of our community from these types of crimes.”