Widow of 7/7 victim jailed for two year for stealing her son’s compensation
- Credit: PA
The widow of a Suffolk 7/7 bombing victim who stole £43,000 from her son’s compensation has been jailed for two years and eight months.
Louise Gray, 42, of Sheldrake Drive, Ipswich, frittered away the cash while looking after it for her son Adam, 20, after he was awarded £55,800 following the death of his father.
He claimed his mother dipped into the money after spending her own £250,000 compensation on clothes, home improvements, cars, an outdoor jacuzzi, luxury holidays and seven Chihuahuas according to her son.
Gray’s accountant husband Richard Gray, 41, of Ipswich, was one of the 52 people killed in the London bombings on July 7, 2005, as he commuted to work.
Gray admitted stealing £43,000 from her son between July 16, 2012, and November 29, 2013,
Sentencing her Ipswich Crown Court Judge David Goodin described her betrayal of her son as “wicked beyond belief.”
Adam was aged just 11 when his tax expert father was killed by suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer on a Circle Line underground train.
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Two years after the attack, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority awarded £250,000 to his mother along with £50,000 for him.
His sister was awarded £100,000 as she is four years younger than him and would have felt her father’s loss for longer.
The children’s money was placed in trust until their 18th birthdays, but Adam gave his cash to his mother to look after when he turned 18.
He found out earlier this year that the bulk of the money had gone when he asked her what had happened to it.
Adam, who now lives in Epping, Essex, took civil action to try to recover the cash and she was ordered by a county court judge in June to repay him £43,790.
But he then decided to pursue criminal action against his mother to get her prosecuted for theft.
Prosecutor Michael Crimp told the court at an earlier hearingô that Gray had offered to pay her son £10,000 followed by further monthly payments at an enforcement heaing.
He added: “For whatever reason, that sum was rejected by the claimant so the position in relation to the enforcement of the debt remains unclear.
“She is not employed and is the mother of a three-year-old daughter. She has a partner in employment and there is a monthly offer on the table.”
Richard Conley for Gray said although it seemed his client had been spending “freely and fecklessly” that wasn’t the case.
He said his client had been unable to work after husband’s tragic death because of her mental state and because she had Adam and his sister to look after. She also had to finance a £57,000 shortfall in her mortgage and to pay day to living expenses.
Mr Conley denied Gray had “joined the jet set”.
“She clearly hadn’t,” he told the court.
He said Gray had a three -year-old daughter with her current partner.
Mr Conley said Gray accepted that Adam might not want to have anything more to do with her but she hoped that one day he would forgive her.
Adam, who now works as a street canvasser for a charity, told in July how his relationship with his mother was now in tatters.
He said: “First I lost my father and now I’ve lost my mother. It’s hard to believe this could happen to us after all we’ve suffered.”