Uncle jailed for theft from disabled niece

THE UNCLE of a little girl who lost her arms and legs to meningitis has been jailed for four years for stealing hundreds of thousands from her life-savings.

James Hore

THE UNCLE of a little girl who lost her arms and legs to meningitis has been jailed for four years for stealing hundreds of thousands from her life-savings.

Darren Pease stole �315,000 from little Ellie May Challis' savings after being put in charge of looking after the youngster's charity fund.

The 33-year-old from south Essex was given the responsibility because he is a banker and the family thought he could be trusted, Basildon Crown Court was told.


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He spent hundreds of thousands intended for the Little Clacton youngster and only turned himself into police when there was a few hundred pounds left.

Ellie's mum, Lisa, 36, said she was outraged at the length of the sentence because Pease had “robbed her little girl's legs” as she was now unable to afford a special wheelchair for beach access.

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Father-of-two Pease had pleaded guilty to 18 counts of committing fraud while in a position of trust and obtaining property by deception and asked for another 31 offences to be taken into consideration.

He also took �65,000 from his grandmother's life savings.

Ellie wears prosthetic limbs that are the same legs worn by South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, and have a c-shaped foot on the bottom for added spring.

Earlier this year her dad, Paul Challis, 46, said: “Ellie can walk twice as fast on these new legs - it really is amazing to see.

“She had done really well before, but she just couldn't keep up with Sophie or her classmates, however hard she tried.

“But she is so full of determination - and with these new spring legs, there is no stopping her.

She can keep up with her sister and her friends now with no problem at all.”

The legs cost �10,000 for a pair and will need to be replaced every two years.

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