Carer stole from dying disabled man’s life savings
A dying man with educational needs was unaware his carer was stealing the money he had put by so he could be buried next to his late parents.
John Goddard, who had vision loss, was being looked after at the end of his life by Ann Sherman at his home in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire.
When she wasn’t caring for the terminally ill 67-year-old she was booking holidays to Europe, ranking up £800 monthly shopping bills at Asda and spent at least £100 in a Belgium tobacco shop, using the money from John’s life savings.
In his last few months Goddard could only afford clothes bought from local charity stores.
His sister Sue Knowles became suspicious of John’s dwindling bank account, she eventually found out it was Anne spending all his money, but by the time she was caught John’s life savings had almost disappeared.
To for fill his wishes Sue scattered her brother’s ashes next to where his parents were buried.
On Friday January 8 Sherman started an 18 month jail sentence after a hearing at Aylsbury Crown Court.
Knowles told The Mirror: "I never relished the idea of getting her sent to prison, but if someone does something like this they have to face the consequences.
"I hate her for what she did and the mental trauma it caused to us as a family, but justice has now been done."
Sue and John were adopted from a young age, when his mum died 23 years ago Goddard moved in with Sherman, but his sister wasn’t happy with the arrangement.
After tracking his new address down, which took two months, Sue called John’s landline number, (he didn’t have a mobile phone) he told her “I thought you didn't love me anymore".
In 2018 Sue visited John on his 65th birthday, she was surprised how much weight he had lost and the small amount of money he had left.
She said: "A couple of members of the family sent him cards with money in.
"He said 'I better put that somewhere safe, because I keep losing my money'."
Later in the same year John was rushed to Stoke Mandeville Hospital with a lung infection, fortunately he recovered after a litre of fluid was drained from the organ.
After being discharged he was moved to a new home where he was much happier and enjoyed Christmas.
When he was settled in the accommodation Sue asked Sherman to see the joint bank statements she shared with John.
Sue said: "The first thing I noticed was towards the end of March he bought a car with a debit card.
"Some months there was £800 in Asda shopping bills.
"There were also holidays to Germany and France, and oil for the central heating."
One of the statements showed payment for a new bathroom and a games console, Sue was confused with the latter because her brother was registered blind.
"He wanted to have a holiday but he didn’t have the money," Sue said.
"He wasn’t totally aware at the amount of money taken.
"I kept him slightly in the dark on that as he trusted everyone and would have been so hurt if I told him.
"As soon as I got his money sorted I would take him on a holiday, I decided."
But the break never came, John died on March 27, 2020 in his sleep and just a few pounds in his bank account.
His sudden death was linked to epilepsy, a condition John had been living with.
Sue said: "In a way the March lockdown helped because my brother had asked to be buried with my mum and dad, but to be honest we didn’t have enough money to do that.
"I had to arrange a non-attended cremation.
"He wasn’t perfect bless him, he had his faults, but he had a beautiful heart and is sadly missed by us all."
Sue reported the missing money to the police, at a hearing in November Sherman was found guilty of fraud and stealing £20,000 from John, but the sum is thought to be much higher.
After last week’s sentencing Sue said: "There are lots of special need adults out there who don’t have families either still alive or who care.
"Even after his death my brother needed justice to be done."
Angela Macpherson, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Buckinghamshire Council, said: "These cases are rare but even one is one too many.
"They inevitably cast a shadow over the many thousands of care workers who have, and still do, work so tirelessly to support vulnerable people across Buckinghamshire.
"Especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
"It’s great to see that these callous actions were uncovered and that justice has been served."
Anne Sherman’s husband died in October which pushed back her plea date in court to November.