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Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021

Grandma stole £20,000 from vulnerable friend to fund shopping addiction

Grandma stole £20,000 from vulnerable friend to fund shopping addiction

A ‘devious’ grandma stole more than £20,000 from her vulnerable friend to fund her shopping addiction.

Ruth Bean, 64, had been friends with her 73-year-old victim for 13 years. They volunteered at the Salvation Army together and when the friend’s mental health started to deteriorate, the pair decided that Bean would handle her finances.

But the unnamed victim was ‘betrayed’ by her long-time friend as Bean used her trusted position to steal thousands of pounds over four years.

Between August 2011 and August 2015, Bean bought new furniture for her house, gave her husband premium fishing gear and even went on a holiday.

She gave her friend a cash allowance of between £40 and £100 a week whilst she continued to steal more than Hull Crown Court could accurately work out.

The thief was exposed in June 2017 when the victim’s housing manager noticed that her bank statements showed money spent in shops the woman had not gone to.

It was only when police began investigating in 2017 that Bean stopped handling her victim’s money.

Ruth Bean has been jailed for 16 months after stealing from her friend


She said that the theft started small, by Bean pocketing £10 for herself every time she did a shop for her friend but that this number gradually increased.

Exactly how much was stolen is unclear because of all the different cash withdrawals and card spending.

But authorities were able to work out that the victim, who had received £111,803 in benefits and pension, was only given £24,760 of this money to spend.

In a personal statement read to the court, prosecutor Cathrine Kioko-Gilligan said: ‘The complainant feels extremely betrayed by the defendant’s actions.

‘The proceedings have caused her increased stress and that stress has also affected her physical health and have also affected her religious beliefs as her and the defendant both attended the christian Salvation Army.

‘The complainant now has the ability now she is in control of her own finances to support her family in the way that she would want.

‘She has also been able to make purchases for herself – something that she was never able to do before and has in fact had the opportunity to go on holiday.’

Bean’s defence argued that the woman had no previous criminal record, had admitted to stealing £20,000 and was remorseful for her actions.

They also asked that Recorder Felicity Davies take into account Bean’s debts and ‘compulsive spending addiction’ which ‘spiralled out of control’.

Bean asked that she be spared jail time because her disabilities would cause her to struggle behind bars and she would have to leave her 82-year-old husband with dementia to fend for himself.

But Ms Davies dismissed those arguments and sentenced Bean, from Hull, East Yorkshire, to 16 months in prison for fraud.

The victim said that being stolen from made her question her faith as she met her friend at the Christian organisation The Salvation Army

Hull Crown Court found Bean guilty of fraud and gave her jail time


The judge said: ‘This was an appalling and grossly dishonest breach of trust committed over a prolonged period of at least four years.

‘You were devious and clearly planned on many different occasions ways to maintain your stealing without arousing suspicion of the complainant, her family and friends.

‘You stole repeatedly from her and your purpose was to take [the victim’s] money to enable you to buy luxuries for yourself and maintain a lifestyle well beyond your means.

‘To do so you deliberately impoverished [the victim], allowing her as little as £40 a week to live on out of her own money that should have been given to her.

‘The nature of the things you spent it on included a holiday, premium fishing gear for your husband and things to furnish your home with.’

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