Carers deny defrauding elderly woman out of more than £500,000

1:06pm Friday 22nd August 2014

A group of carers accused of defrauding an elderly Cracoe woman out of more than £500,000 have pleaded not guilty to the allegation.

Six women from the Keighley area and a man from Shipley formally denied the conspiracy to defraud charge during a 25-minute plea and case management hearing at Bradford Crown Court today.

A total of nine defendants had to use the jury box instead of the dock for the hearing before Judge Peter Benson and two of them were not asked to enter any plea to the charges they faced.

Prosecutor Stephen Wood told the judge that the indictment should not be put at this stage to 43-year-old Amanda Carroll, of Park Avenue, Shipley, or Caron Gilbert, 32, of Red Holt Crescent, Keighley, and the court also heard that 56-year-old Edward Barker, of Raglan Avenue, Keighley, was not fit to attend the hearing.

The remaining seven defendants, Alice Barker, 58, of Raglan Avenue, Lisa Bell, 29, and Wendy Bell, 56, of Greendside Lane, Cullingworth, Christopher Carroll, 43, of Park Avenue, Shipley, Marsha Girvan, 42, of Bank, Oxenhope, Helen Banks, 42, of Howbeck Avenue, Riddlesden, and Linda Mynott, 59, of Garforth Road, Keighley, all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together between February 14, 2010, and September 25, 2012, to defraud the woman, who is in her 90s.

The allegation relates to inflated sums which did not represent the hours worked or the correct sums due.

Although a previous figure of £1.6 million was reported it is now understood that the sum covered by the indictment is about £550,000.

Wendy Bell also entered not guilty pleas to two further charges of fraud which relate to false representations made to Myron Handzij of Turner and Wall Solicitors for petty cash payments in inflated amounts or for payment for work that had not been undertaken.

During discussions about the progress of the case it was confirmed that a trial had been fixed for January 5 next year, with a time estimate of up to four weeks.

It is expected that there will be a further hearing towards the end of October or in early November, but no date has yet been fixed.

That hearing is due to take place in front of Judge Colin Burn, who is the nominated trial judge, and could last about an hour.

Judge Benson told all nine defendants that they should keep in touch with their solicitors so they could be informed about the date of the next hearing later this year and he granted them all bail with a condition that they do not contact the complainant or her niece.


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