A deceitful businessman who stole more than £3,000 from a dementia sufferer after her husband died has been spared jail.
Robert Holly, 48, promised Eileen Graves' husband his company, which provided "assistance to the elderly and infirm", would care for her after his death.
But a court heard Mrs Graves' had to be moved into a care home after her health deteriorated and Holly kept her bank card instead of returning it. He had the PIN and stole £3,210 over a series of regular withdrawals.
Hull Live reports Holly had previously spent 15 months in jail for scamming elderly clients out of £30,000.
But the judge at Hull Crown Court today spared the cruel businessman immediate jail, instead ordering him to do 200 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months.
He was sentenced to ten months in jail, suspended for two years. He'll also have 20 days rehabilitation.
A further count of fraud was left to lie on the court file.
Sentencing Holly, Recorder David Gordon said: "The message needs to go out loud and clear, that vulnerable people in our society, particularly the elderly, deserve and will always get the protection of the courts.
"It seems to me you deserve punishment and you could not complain if you did go to prison. But there is a more constructive way of dealing with you, which is reflected in the conclusion of the pre-sentence report, and I find it an attractive one.
"I see no reason why you should be a burden on the tax payer, whiling away your time behind bars in an unconstructive manner, serving a relatively short sentence. There's no reason why you should not repay your debt to society by doing unpaid work for vulnerable people."
Mrs Graves, who suffered from dementia, died before the case was concluded.
Nigel Clive, prosecuting, said the defendant's previous fraud conviction related to offences carried out at around the same time he was stealing from Mrs Graves.
But Holly, of Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, admitted theft of Mrs Graves between January and March 2015.
Stephen Robinson, defending, said: "Your honour, clearly the defendant faces a serious matter and has been before the courts for further behaviour arising out of a period of his life of which he is deeply ashamed.
"He was suffering financial problems. His business was struggling and his financial problems were exacerbated by an attempt to try and make up for some of his losses by gambling. That was a problem but he's got a grip of it now."
Mr Robinson said when Mrs Graves moved into the care home, Holly's "watching over her interests" ceased.
"He should at that point have returned the cash card to the home to her. But it was too bigger a temptation," the lawyer added.
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