Pair ‘cynically’ fleeced £15k from vulnerable man’s bank account

Dominic Slade and Marlene Hill fleeced the vulnerable man for �15,000 by stealing from his bank acco

Dominic Slade and Marlene Hill fleeced the vulnerable man for �15,000 by stealing from his bank account. Stock photo. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A couple “systematically and cynically” fleeced £15,000 savings from a vulnerable Suffolk man’s bank account, a court has heard.

Heroin addict Dominic Slade befriended the victim, who was in his 60s and had limited mobility after suffering a stroke, and was trusted with his bank details and PIN to withdraw small amounts of money for him from a cashpoint in Leiston, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

After the victim, who was also an alcoholic, discovered money was missing from his account, police viewed CCTV and discovered Slade’s partner Marlene Hill had been present when the dishonest withdrawals were made.

After his arrest, Slade told police he had spent the money on drugs.

Slade, 52, and Hill, 41, of Harling Road, Leiston, admitted theft.

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Slade was jailed for 28 months and Hill was given a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to do 60 hours unpaid work and was given a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

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Sentencing the pair, Judge Rupert Overbury said they had “systematically and cynically” fleeced the victim after pretending to be his friend.

In a statement read to the court the victim, who worked for social services before being forced to retire through ill health, said he had trusted the defendants and felt foolish for being duped by them.

He said he had hoped to buy a house near his family but he would now be forced to rent a property instead.

Simon Gladwell, prosecuting, said Slade became friendly with the victim at the end of 2019 and would often visit him.

The man trusted Slade and gave him permission to withdraw small amounts of cash on his behalf on six to ten occasions between April and October 2019.

However, it was discovered that during that time Slade had made around 40 unauthorised withdrawals of £300 from the account totalling £15,200.

Investigations also revealed that not all the withdrawals had been made by Slade, and Hill had also withdrawn money.

Kelly Fernandez-Lee, for the couple, said Hill had no previous convictions and didn’t take drugs.

She said Slade had health problems which caused him severe pain.

She said he was awaiting surgery which had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

He had also been receiving treatment from the mental health services.

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