A heartbroken son has appealed for help to catch the “evil” person who stole £10,000 from his 91-year-old mother while she was bedridden at Peterborough City Hospital with severe dementia.
Mary Banks from Werrington had her purse stolen from the hospital in September four weeks before she died, with the thief using her bank card to spend the five figure sum in just a fortnight.
Her bank card was used to withdraw £300 daily as well as to pay for groceries and clothes, including eight trips to Tesco on the same day.
Mary’s only child Jim said: “I was gobsmacked. I knew that it could not possibly be her spending the money because she was in hospital and had dementia.
“She had broken her leg and was completely immobile. I find it incredible that anyone can stoop so low to do this.”
Jim, who lives outside of Peterborough, was grieving for his mum when he received a bank statement three days after her death revealing the fraudulent payments.
He said: “Barclays had been trying to get hold of her blissfully unaware she was in hospital. They put a stop on the card. I was not aware the purse had been stolen until after she died.”
Widow Mary was born in Stamford but lived in Peterborough for 75 years and worked as a secretary at local businesses.
Jim said: “She was very kind to people. If she had known what had happened to her she would have been unbelievably distressed.”
Mary’s dementia was diagnosed four or five months ago, but her condition rapidly deteriorated.
Jim said he was sure the purse had been stolen from her while she lay in the city hospital because “the first use of the card to withdraw cash from an ATM was at the hospital”.
He added: “One of the reasons it’s so important to catch someone like this is to stop it happening to other people.
“People who prey on helpless individuals like that I think are pretty evil. It’s abhorrent.
“I am appealing for the public’s help in catching whoever is responsible so that no other family has to face a similar heartache.”
PC Lewis Busby from Cambridgeshire police said: “I would urge anyone with information about this crime to contact us or who thinks they know the woman in the CCTV.
“My thoughts go with the family who are dealing with the loss of their loved one and now have to deal with this alongside it.”
Anyone who recognises the woman pictured, or has any information, is asked to call police on 101 quoting 35/36955/18.
Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.