“Accomplished liar” and executor for gravely ill friend’s will stole nearly £39k from him six days before his death
- Credit: Archant
An “accomplished liar” has been jailed after stealing nearly £39,000 from a gravely ill friend six days before he died, because he was left out of his will.
David Hall, of The Street Darsham, near Saxmundham, blew virtually all the money on a new car, holidays and “having a good time”, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Hall was jailed for 18 months after being convicted following a trial of fraud by abuse of position, which he had denied.
The 65-year-old had been the executor of Robert Jay’s will and had also been given power of attorney.
However, the court heard when the 67-year-old made a new will on December 14, 2010, he added his step-brother Harold Wilding to it. Previously Hall believed Robert Jay’s brother Kenneth Jay would be the sole beneficiary.
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After Hall discovered he would not receive anything, the following day he creamed off £38,832.96 from an account belonging to Robert Jay, which had £138,832 in it.
Following the sentencing Mr Wilding said: “To take money from somebody on their death bed - you can’t get any lower in my opinion.”
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Jailing Hall, Judge Rupert Overbury told him: “You spent the money on luxury items - a new car, holidays and - as you said to the Probation Service - ‘having a good time’.
“Having watched you give evidence I’m satisfied you are an accomplished liar and thoroughly dishonest.
“Your account during the course of your evidence changed in some material facts.
“You sought to challenge the integrity of Mr Robert Jay’s solicitor.
“There’s almost nothing left from your act of greed.”
The court heard Hall had helped to look after Robert Jay in Darsham for some time before his death, not only at his home, but also visiting him in hospitals in Ipswich and Aldeburgh, as well as in a nursing home.
Judge Overbury said: “I have no doubt Robert Jay was extremely grateful for everything you did for him by way of friendship, but what he did not do is allow you in any way whatsoever to benefit from his assets.
“It was plain from what happened on December 14, 2010, when there was a meeting for his wishes as to his assets to be put into writing and to be verified by a solicitor.
“In a private meeting between the solicitor and Robert Jay, Robert Jay made it perfectly clear he did not want you to have a penny of his assets.
“He wanted Kenneth Jay and Harold Wilding to benefit, and not you.”
The court was told it was a surprise to Hall when Mr Wilding was included in the new will.
The judge described it as: “Plainly a change to Mr Robert Jay’s wishes that you were not expecting.”
Hall had thought Kenneth Jay would inherit everything. However, Hall discovered while gathered around Robert Jay’s bedside that Mr Wilding was to be included in the new will.
Hall was said to have waited for an opportune moment to arise when he could dishonestly remove the money from Robert Jay’s bank account while he was still alive.
Matthew Sorel-Cameron, mitigating for Hall, said it was the prosecution’s case that Hall’s friendship with Robert Jay had been contrived and he was disgruntled about the will because he felt he was entitled to something.
Mr Sorel-Cameron said in relation to the whole of Robert Jay’s estate the figure of nearly £39,000 which was taken was relatively small as the estate ran into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The court heard Hall suffered from a number of health issues including depression, angina, arthritis, high cholesterol and pulmonary disease.
Mr Sorel-Cameron said Hall believed a custodial sentence would “finish him off”, adding: “He’s suffered a loss of pride and self respect.”