A CROOKED bank cashier who plundered the bank account of an elderly cus- tomer suffering dementia has been jailed.
James Michie stole more than £25,000 belonging to Michael Turnbull, an 87-year- old Stafford man who has since died.
The Barclays Bank employee targeted the account because he knew Mr Turnbull’s mental health was failing and a power of attorney had been appointed for him.
But Michie marked up the account at the bank’s branch in Market Square, Stafford as “gone away” and began withdrawing money from it, said Pat Sullivan, prosecuting.
The theft was discovered when the bank’s manager carried out an audit check on the account and noticed there had been nine withdrawals at the counter totalling over £16,000 - all supervised by Michie.
When he was tackled about it, he resorted to “an elaborate lie - that Mr Turnbull was a regular customer at the branch, that he would attend and with- draw the money himself.” After eventually owning up, Michie confessed that he had made another 14 illicit withdrawals - the total amount stolen by him rising to £25,475.
Michie, 25, of Oak Road, Brewood, who admitted a charge of theft between May 2009 and April last year, was jailed for two years.
Judge Michael Cullum told him; “You targeted the account of an 87-year-old customer whom you personally knew. You knew he was struggling and had become confused, a power of attorney had to be appointed. You continued to steal from his accounts, hoping you would be able to fund your lifestyle, which was more than you could afford.
“You have undermined the efforts of local bank branches of achieving good relationships with their customers. They may read about this case and will be con- cerned - you have undermined all the hard work of your colleagues.” Mr Sullivan said Michie had spent money on restaurant meals, shopping in Birmingham, nights out in the city and lots of takeaways.
Joanne Clark, defending, said Michie’s offending began after he was encouraged to take out credit cards and ran up “a sig- nificant amount of debt”.
Since being sacked by the bank he had been working as a pub barman.