Mother accused of spending her two daughter’s £50K inheritance on shopping

A 53-year-old mother from Wales has been accused for stealing her daughters’ £50K inheritance and using the money to fund lavish shopping sprees.

Katherine Hill was described as ‘blatant and brazen’ by the judge as she stood trial for fraud. Swansea Crown Court heard how Hill and her 93-year-old father Gerald Hill, worked together to spend every penny of inheritance that was left in trust for Katherine’s two daughters, Jessica and Gemma Thomas by their grandmother Margaret in 2013.

The 53-year-old Lloyds Bank employee frittered away the cash at high street shops, including Primark, claiming the shopping was for her daughters. The money was also withdrawn in cash, one transaction amounting to £15,000, and a direct transfer of £2,300 was made to Katherine’s bank account. The inheritance was due to be released to the sisters when they turned 25, but Hill and her father had spent every penny after placing it in a Barclays Everyday Saver account – which allowed instant access to the funds.

Gemma Thomas (Credit:Wales Online)

In 2018, one of the daughters asked for her share of the inheritance to purchase a property with her partner. It was at this juncture that the alleged fraud was discovered. A civil investigation was initiated on behalf of the two daughters by solicitors after the police had been contacted by Jessica and Gemma’s father, Christopher Thomas.

Katherine exercised her right not to give evidence, but Gerald, a former Royal Mail worker, took to the witness box to give evidence, telling Swansea Crown Court he had decided to withdraw money from the account and gave his granddaughters their inheritance in ‘instalments’ by posting envelopes of money through their letterbox on occasion. The 93-year-old says he did this in order to ‘save his daughter’s sanity’ as the two girls were ‘harassing’ their mother for money.

Pensioner Gerald, who said he would ‘die for’ his daughter Katherine was dubbed a ‘stooge’ by prosecutor James Hartson for aiding his her in the alleged theft. The pair both had cards to use the savings account. He denied spending the money and claimed he made the withdrawals ‘off his own back’ in order to ‘ease’ frosty relationship between the mother and her two daughters.

Katherine maintains she ‘didn’t think she was doing anything wrong’ and said she ‘had permission’ to use the money for an operation on the family pet, a boxer dog. The bank worker asserted that she had suffered with mental health issues following her divorce and her relationship with her children had become fraught. Ms Hill explained that her daughters had grown accustomed to a ‘lavish lifestyle’ and would only eat at ‘posh places’. There were comments made about the fact the sisters would ‘no longer eat at McDonald’s’. The mother said Jessica and Gemma would ask her for money to fund their new tastes – purchasing expensive items, phones and trips.

After police questioning Hill said she ‘knew nothing’ of the cash withdrawals and said her father had been posting his granddaughters money.

In court Katherine was described as a manipulative and the barrister said the father and daughter duo were ‘thoroughly dishonest’ and their actions were contrary to their roles as trustees.

The officer on the case, DC Aled Brothers, said that the flow of money was ‘impossible to follow’ and that there’s no way to trace the cash. The trial continues and will be concluded at a later date.

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