A MAN fleeced his own father out of £46,000 as he lay seriously ill in hospital.
But Alexander Finch walked free from court after the judge was also told that his dad did not want the 21-year-old to go to prison.
Finch obtained the money after secretly writing cheques on his father’s bank account and frittering it away, some on online gambling.
Sentencing him to 20 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, Judge Robert Warnock said: “The money was spent on effectively nothing of any importance at all. It was purely self-indulgence on your part.
“No one else was involved, you are entirely the author of your own misfortune.
“You must understand behaviour of this sort, particularly against vulnerable victims, will not be tolerated.
“It is an impressive fact that your father is still prepared to give you housing and shelter. He did not have to do that and he doesn’t want to send you to prison.
“I think it is unlikely that you will repeat this sort of behaviour.
“I have no doubt whatsoever that you now fully comprehend the depths to which you sank, It was a disgraceful breach of trust on your part, you knew your father was vulnerable.”
The judge also placed Finch under supervision for six months including a probation employment, training and education course.
Finch, of Knowles Place, Scholes, had pleaded guilty to one offence of theft and 11 of fraud.
Leanne Birkett, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that in August 2013 the defendant’s father, Peter Finch, received £140,000 from his late father’s estate.
He decided to give his four sons £15,000 each and after clearing off some bills and put the rest of the money in his bank account.
He spent two spells in hospital between March and July last year with liver disease and while there gave his son Alex his debit card to buy food and pay bills.
When he was discharged he was too ill to go out and still relied heavily on his son and would get him to withdraw sums of cash for him and buy groceries.
In July he asked another of his sons to withdraw £100 for him and he did and also gave him a mini-statement.
When he read it he panicked and thought there must have been a mistake as he only had £14,000 in his account when he had expected there to be £55,000.
Inquiries with the bank showed that Alex had obtained a cheque book on the account and had obtained the £46,000 by writing 11 cheques to himself.
The sums ranged from £2,000 to £5,000 between June last year and June this year, said Miss Birkett.
When interviewed by police Finch, who has no previous convictions, admitted writing cheques to himself and spending the money. The court heard that at the bank later reimbursed the victim.
Martyn Walsh, defending, said that Finch, who still lives with his father, was immature and lacking focus.
He has no money or income and a £400 debt for his mobile phone. His father is a recovering alcoholic and drink had been the source of tension in the household.
His parents are now divorced and his mother was in the public gallery to support him.
“He doesn’t remember gambling huge sums of money but over time it seems good chunks of money went on online gambling,” said Mr Walsh.