Wigan man stole his own gran's funeral fund

A Wigan man tried to pay off a drug debt by stealing £10,000 from his grandmother which she was saving to pay for her own funeral, a court heard.

Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 9:23 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 10:26 am
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

Shayne Smith stole the huge amount of cash from his grandmother Violet Chester, which she had been keeping hidden in the bedroom of her Leigh home.

She had been slowly building up the haul of cash to cover her own funeral expenses so that family members wouldn’t be pay for it after her death.

Smith, a 29-year-old of Somerset Road, Atherton, did not enter a plea when he first appeared at Wigan and Leigh Magistrate’s Court in May.

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Appearing at Bolton Crown Court last week, he narrowly avoided being sent to prison after finally entering a guilty plea to the theft from a dwelling, as well as two counts of possession of drugs.

The court heard how Mrs Chester, 89, found that there was £10,000 missing from a metal cashbox which was in her bedroom drawer.

She had last checked on the money around two weeks before she realised it was missing.

After determining that the only visitor who had been to her home in that time was her grandson Smith, she raised her suspicions with other family members.

These relatives later challenged him over the claims, at which point he admitted taking the money.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mrs Chester revealed how her grandson’s brazen theft was “painful in the extreme” and that she was unable to understand how selfish Smith had been.

She also expressed her disgust at her grandson going behind her back, and that everything she had ever done for him had been thrown back in her face.

In an earlier hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court, the prosecution told the bench that while Smith had admitted to taking the money, he claimed to have only been doing so under duress to pay off a drug debt.

Just one day after stealing the money, he was caught in possession of cocaine and cannabis, a Class A and Class B drug, respectively - matters to which he also pleaded guilty.

Police had attended his address the day after he had pocketed his grandmother’s cash, and found the illegal substances .

One was found in his bedroom and one on his person.

Both amounts were said to be small quantities which were suggestive of personal use.

Smith, who had no previous convictions, was given an eight-month prison sentence for the theft of monies, which was suspended for 12 months.

He must also carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and must complete 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.