A FORMER teacher from Blackwood was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence for stealing more than £30,000 from her late aunt.
Melanie Grey, 51, of Highfield Road, Pontllanfraith, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position when she was appointed as a trustee and had power of attorney to her aunt Barbara Jones’ finances. Grey, who appeared at Cardiff Crown Court for sentencing, took £30,058.48 from her aunt’s accounts while she was in a care home in Newbridge between November 22, 2010, and October 14, 2013.
Tony Trigg, for the prosecution, said: “Mrs Jones passed away in November 2013. It has emerged that when the defendant was younger her aunt cared for her — she was like a mother to the defendant.
“The irony is that the money would have gone to her when Mrs Jones passed away.”
The court heard that Grey, who had been a teacher for 26 years, had been sacked and used the money to pay her own household bills.
Mr Trigg said: “In bleeding the account almost dry the standing order to the care home fell into arrears. The arrears in pay put into jeopardy the care of Mrs Jones when she was most vulnerable.”
Grey had pleaded guilty at an earlier preliminary hearing on February 7.
Hashim Salmman, for the defence, said: “She has shown genuine remorse of some considerable degree. Her inability to continue in her career incited serious financial difficulties, the breakdown of her marriage and the breakdown of her relationship with her son.
“Such extreme circumstances can make mature people of intelligence with almost an unblemished record do something perhaps they had never dreamt being capable of.”
Recorder I.W.L Jones said: “This was a sad and wicked offence. I give you full credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity. It is entirely obvious to me that you are sorry for what you did.”
Grey was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, and will be under supervision for the next 12 months. She will also have to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.