A FRAUDSTER jailed for over two and a half years was slammed by his family and a judge after leaving his elderly mother at risk of being thrown out of her West Hallam home.
Jobless William Tucker managed to get her £150,000 bungalow transferred into his name and used that to get an £83,000 loan, only for him to fall behind on payments.
That left bailiffs calling on Olive Tucker to evict her from the home on Burncroft, West Hallam.
She insisted the property was owned by her and that her son was a lodger.
Bailiffs believed her but Tucker kept up the deception even after his mother died aged 89 in July 2010, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
He finally pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud after Derbyshire police took the rare step of getting permission to play in court a video interview of Mrs Tucker, who spent 29 years as an overlock machinist at Rutland Garments in Ilkeston.
Tucker, 58, of Cranmer Street, Long Eaton, was jailed for 31 months by judge John Head, who told him: “This was a confidence fraud of a particularly vile sort.
“You were asset-stripping your mother, who in a memorable phrase described you as a layabout, who didn’t want to earn a living.
“You caused bailiffs to go to your mother’s home, causing her enormous and continuing distress for the rest of her life.”
Tucker’s sister Susan Smith, 62, said: “Our mother was a very fiery lady and fiercely independent. She loved that home and didn’t deserve what he did to her. She looked after him and this is how he repaid her.”
And Mrs Tucker’s brother Joe Fretwell, 83, said: “He should not have been sent down, he should have been put down.”
Mrs Smith explained that the worry of the loss of her home cause her health to deteriorate.
“She remained as sharp as a tack mentally but was constantly anxious and fearful of the bailiff’s return to evict her,” she said.
“She would not be re-assured on this, causing deep sorrow to all the family
“She was housebound and her quality of life during this last year led to her being miserable and afraid. Her spirit – and more importantly her heart – was broken by her son.”
Laura Pitman, prosecuting, said Tucker was in financial trouble in 2007 and tried to persuade his mother to accept joint ownership of the home.
One firm of solicitors declined and so he approached another which was also concerned.
He claimed cash was needed to carry out adaptations in the home at the request of his mother’s carers.
“That was a complete lie,” said Miss Pitman.
He also falsely claimed his mother had ‘cancer and a form of MS’.
Miss Pitman said: “He later said his mother had gone into a hospice and was unlikely ever to return home again – another lie.”
Later he insisted he owned the bungalow and had received £7,800 rental, also falsely claiming he was ‘a semi-professional polo player’.
Julia King, mitigating, said Tucker had never been in trouble before and had made a ‘positive contribution to society’, but he had suffered from depression and the failure of a business.
“He committed these offences out of sheer desperation,” she said.
“He found himself increasingly in debt. It was not out of pure simple greed.
“There is now deep remorse and a significant shame.”