A “reclusive” drug addict who stole more than £7,000 from his elderly mother as she recuperated after being in hospital, has walked free from court.
Ex-con Thomas Linford (48) had been looking after the victim, 81-year-old victim Shirley Linford, because nobody else was available.
He had been given her bank card and PIN number to pay her bills, but also helped himself to money from cash machines on 14 occasions, Burnley Crown Court heard.
A judge, who slammed Linford’s actions as “despicable”, said the defendant, who had a long record for dishonesty, was not a person to be trusted and was the last person who should have been looking after his mother’s affairs.
The defendant, a drug addict for 34 years, now insists he wants to apologise and pay her back, the hearing was told.
Linford was spared immediate jail for the breach of trust.
He was told by Recorder Andrew Nuttall: “You missed going to prison by a whisker. Let me make that absolutely clear.”
Linford, of Stoneyhurst Avenue, Burnley, had admitted theft, between last July 16th and October 26th and had been committed for sentence by magistrates.
He was given 14 months in prison, suspended for two years with a 15-day a rehabilitation activity requirement.
Recorder Nuttall did not make a specific compensation order, but told the defendant: “If you are as remorseful as you say you are, then you will start making these payments back. If you don’t, then it tells a great deal about you, doesn’t it?”