Retired teacher from Burnley stole £3,350 from stroke victim

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A RETIRED teacher stole £3,350 from a stroke victim whose finances he was supposed to be looking after, a court was told.

Alan Hiscox (66) of Kirkfell Drive, Burnley, was slammed as an “ absolute disgrace,” when Recorder Michael Blakey, gave him a suspended prison sentence at Burnley Crown Court, saying he had clearly taken advantage of his vulnerable victim.

Hiscox pleaded guilty to stealing cash from the bank account of the 61-year-old woman who had had two strokes and a brain haemorrhage; He was the partner of a close friend of the victim, who she had known for 35 years, and had taken the money over 12 months.

The hearing was told Hiscox’s behaviour seemed to have no explanation and out of character. His partner has motor neurone disease and dementia, and his victim was worried that if he were to be jailed it would have a “ potentially massive impact” on her long- time.

Hiscox was given nine months in jail, suspended for 18 months, with 100 hours unpaid work.

Mr Daniel Thomas (prosecuting) said the woman had been friends with Hiscox for about 12 years. In 2002, after her strokes, she agreed to him looking after the day-to-day running of her financial affairs.

He was challenged about 37 unauthorised withdrawals from her account by her son and daughter, but he denied using the bank card and claimed it must have been cloned. He later admitted using the card four times without her permission. Hiscox denied the other 33 transactions.

He had no previous convictions, and faces a proceeds of crime hearing.

Mr Adam Watkins (defending) said Hiscox was a “ fundamentally decent and caring man”. He had undertaken supporting the woman with nothing but the best of intentions, but succumbed to temptation. He had credit card debts of £5,000 and no savings.

After retiring he earned money as a gardener but had to stop work after a heart attack. His income was reduced and he had much more time on his hands.

Said Mr Watkins: “It was then, for reasons I am not able to put my finger on, he committed this offence, which was so inconsistent with the character that he had demonstrated over many, many years.”

He added that Hiscox, who was the carer for his partner, had been a “ man of positive good character”.

Sentencing, Recorder Blakey said: “This was a breach of trust of a vulnerable adult, and you knew exactly what you were doing.”