Samantha Marley’s callous crime was only discovered after she failed to collect 86-year-old Sarah Glasgow from a care home where she had been placed.
Checks on her gran’s online bank account – which Marley was entrusted to set up on her behalf – showed there was only £400 left out of the pensioner’s original £97,000 savings, which included the proceeds from the sale of her home.
Marley, 33, was sentenced at Livingston Sheriff Court on Friday after earlier pleading guilty to stealing bank cards and bank details from Mrs Glasgow before transferring money to her own accounts without her grandmother’s permission.
She also admitted causing an adult bulldog type dog and a puppy unnecessary suffering for around three months by neglecting them and tying them up in a space too small for them to move around.
In his plea in mitigation, her lawyer Alan Jackson conceded that there was no possibility of the money being repaid due to Marley’s financial situation.
He said Marley had taken her grandmother into her care in her own home around September 2015 following the death of her own mother, who had previously been her carer but had died two years earlier.
He said: “Her grandmother helped her out with her children and she thought that would give her a degree of respite, so the grandmother came to live with her.
“I think she understands now that with four children – one of them with learning difficulties – in a three-bedroomed house that’s really the last thing she should have done.”
He said Marley had agreed to set up an online banking account for her grandmother and had a mandate to use certain funds to assist her grandmother’s situation in her home.
But he admitted: “She went far beyond that, in particular after the house sale. This didn’t result in any material benefit to my client, she really was spending it on the children..
“It was frittered away in certain respects. At one point there was thought about putting money aside for a deposit on a house, but instead five dogs were acquired.
“The children had treats, culminating in a holiday towards the end of this period of time. Meantime the burden of caring for the grandmother just became worse.”
By 2017 the very elderly grandmother was in effect bedbound, he said. “Talking about her grandmother going into respite care she said she wasn’t coping with life.
“She felt shame and guilty for her children and wanted to make them feel good. These difficulties led her to a dark place and gave rise to the offending.”
He said it seemed clear from a psychological report on Marley that she had been suffering feelings of helplessness and isolation because of underlying anxiety disorder. He suggested that the animal cruelty offence was symptomatic of her inability to cope.
Passing sentence, Sheriff Peter Hammond told Marley: “You have admitted over the course of a year and a quarter you stole the sum of £50,000 by instalments, gradually depleting your grandmother’s bank account by transferring it to yourself when you were not authorised by her.
“The money taken included a substantial part of the proceeds of the sale of your grandmother’s home.
“When you eventually abandoned her at a nursing home by failing to collect her it was discovered that the money left was only GBP400.
“This was a wicked and protracted breach of your grandmother’s trust when you were only due to use the money for purposes approved by her.
“In view of the deliberate, calculated and protracted course of stealing from a close and vulnerable member of your family who trusted you, for this course of criminal conduct the only punishment is a custodial sentence.”
Samantha Marley address is Auldhill Avenue, Bridgend, West Lothian, Graham c/o Police Service of Scotland.Vic R