Fraud case almost at an end as Wick woman admits £14k theft
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A Wick woman took advantage of her friendship with an ailing elderly man to steal £14,000 from him, the town's sheriff court heard on Tuesday.
Fiona Taylor was previously accused of a £40,000 fraud but the figure was slashed when she changed her plea to one of guilty to a reduced charge.
It brought the protracted, three-year case almost to a conclusion – the 66-year-old will be sentenced later this month.
Taylor, of Glamis Road, listened from the dock as the story of how she used her friendship with 88-year-old Albert Millington – between December 10, 2015 and July 1, 2016 – emerged.
The accused became acquainted with the pensioner after he moved back to Wick having sold his home in London. Initially, friends and family rallied round and helped him with his day-to-day needs. Mr Millington had poor hearing and a heart condition.
Fiscal David Barclay told Sheriff Neil Wilson that Taylor and Mr Millington became acquainted when he started using her taxi service.
She would regularly run him about and over a period of time built up a rapport and friendship with him.
Things progressed to the stage where Mr Millington would make funds available to her to cover his day-to-day expenses and other bills including repairs to his house, and the cash would be topped up as and when required.
The fiscal said that substantial sums were being used by Taylor for purposes for which they were not intended and suspicion fell on her.
Mr Barclay went on: "It appears that a third party became concerned that Taylor might have been using some of the money for her own benefit and the police became involved."
A check on her bank records revealed that the accused had used three sums for her own benefit, one of £4000 and two of £5000, all of which had been paid to betting sites.
The fiscal said: "This was something unknown to Mr Millington."
He continued: "Taylor was interviewed by police officers and confirmed that there had been a financial arrangement with Mr Millington and conceded that money had been paid to her, but she didn't accept that she had done anything wrong."
The fiscal added that a report on the financial aspects of the fraud had taken a considerable time to prepare.
Sheriff Wilson called for a background report on Taylor which he will consider on November 29 after hearing mitigation from the accused's solicitor.
The case has been dogged by repeated delays since it was first called three years ago, including an arrest warrant being issued after Taylor initially refused to come to court, then further delays in establishing Taylor's fitness to plead before an earlier legal representative withdrew from the case.