A drug addict had been jailed for stealing £5,000 from his 90-year-old grandmother’s bank account after she agreed to take him into her home.
Lee McKitterick, 36, stole from his gran’s life savings by making a series of withdrawals from cash machines.
The woman had hidden her cash card from her grandson because he had already stolen from her in the past, a court heard.
Prosecutor Harry Hadfield told Durham Crown Court McKitterick was temporarily living with his grandmother in the Seaham, County Durham area when the thefts happened in November.
He said: ‘She had a cash card with the account but did not use it.
‘She was not confident with cash machines, so she was in the habit of visiting the bank to withdraw money to pay bills and check the balance.
‘The card was hidden, or so she thought, the defendant having taken money from her in the past.
‘Out of the kindness of her heart she did not report those losses.’
But she noticed money had gone missing when she went to check her bank balance and found it was £1,200 when she expected to be more than £6,000.
‘In total, £5,692 had been stolen,’ the prosecutor said.
The court heard most of the money was withdrawn in £200 amounts from a cash point at ASDA in Seaham, where CCTV showed McKitterick making the withdrawals.
Lloyds Bank was commended by a judge for refunding the woman’s money, even though the bank could not be held responsible for the thefts.
McKitterick, of Glencoe Square, Sunderland, admitted fraud in November last year and also admitted being in breach of a suspended sentence that had been given to him in October for a burglary at a house in Sunderland.
David Callan, defending, said there was little mitigation in the case and the reasons for the offending ‘can be summed up in two words: cocaine and heroin’.
He added: ‘Mr McKitterick had got into debt over drugs, and he was being pressed for payment.
‘He cannot remember when he last worked, his life has been effectively ruined by drugs.
‘In the cold light of day, he is disgusted with the way he behaved.
‘He pleaded guilty, and he has shown willingness to seek help with his drugs problem while in prison.’
Judge Christopher Prince jailed McKitterick for 34 months and told him: ‘Anyone hearing of this case cannot be anything other than dismayed to hear of such mean offending.
‘Your grandmother had offered you sanctuary, yet you repaid that kindness by stealing from her.
‘These were her life savings that she hoped to pass on to her children.
‘You commenced this course of conduct shortly after you were given a chance by way of a suspended sentence for burglary.
‘It is clear you had no intention of stopping offending.’