Gambler stole £50,000 from mother-in-law

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A man who stole over £50,000 from his mother-in-law’s bank account and gambled it all away has been jailed for 10 months.

A court heard Mark Holmes, of Gypsy Court, Castleford, abused the trust placed in him by withdrawing large sums from the victim’s account after she sold her home in Leeds in order to pay for residential home care.

After losing the money Holmes, 49, left his wife a note saying that he had gone to Scarborough to kill himself.

Police officers found him at the east coast and returned him to West Yorkshire.

John Bull, prosecuting, said Holmes’s mother-in-law moved into a residential home in August 2014 and sold her home on Nowell Mount, Harehills.

Holmes and his wife were entrusted to manage the proceeds of the sale of the property, in order to pay for the 79-year-old widow’s care.

Holmes withdrew £51,781 over a seven month period. Mr Bull said: “Most of the money seems to have been gambled away.” Only £30 was left in the account when the offending came to light.

Holmes was arrested and admitted to police he had a gambling addiction and had been suffering from depression. He pleaded guilty to theft.

The victim provided a statement to the court which read: “The money was to set me up for a comfortable retirement but what Mark did has plunged me into uncertainty.

“I used to trust Mark. He had been my son-in-law for 23 years. This trust has been shattered.”

Anna McKenzie, mitigating, said Holmes had pleaded guilty to the offence at an early stage.

Ms McKenzie said Holmes committed the offence following the collapse of his marriage. She added: “At the time of the offence he was at a low ebb. He was isolated and sought solace in gambling.”

“The money was for a comfortable retirement Mark has plunged me into uncertainty.”