Dennis Mervyn Middleton, 69, faced Gympie Magistrates Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to stealing $9000 from a wheelchair-bound woman. Facebook Picture
Dennis Mervyn Middleton, 69, faced Gympie Magistrates Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to stealing $9000 from a wheelchair-bound woman. Facebook Picture

69yo diabetic pensioner stole $9k from disabled woman

A 41-year-old wheelchair-bound disabled woman who cannot speak has lost $9000 after it was stolen by the man charged with looking after her finances.

Her bank account was originally managed by her grandmother, but control was handed over to 69-year-old Dennis Mervyn Middleton, of Gympie, when the grandmother developed dementia.

Over the six months between March 15 and September 13 last year, Middleton withdrew $9000 in several $1000 and $2000 instalments.

Dennis Mervyn Middleton, 69, at the Gympie Magistrates Court on Thursday, was escorted from the court by police after he was handed a 12-month jail sentence.
Dennis Mervyn Middleton, 69, at the Gympie Magistrates Court on Thursday, was escorted from the court by police after he was handed a 12-month jail sentence.

He also defrauded the 41-year-old woman of $145 by using her money to pay for a U-Haul removal truck on March 22.

The theft was only discovered - and ended - when the woman's grandmother died and all the accounts were frozen.

Gympie Magistrates Court heard on Thursday he initially told police he had spent the money on items for the 41-year-old, including a DVD player and setting up a taxi account.

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Middleton pleaded guilty to seven counts of stealing and one count of fraud in total.

He sat with his hands on his own walking frame as Magistrate Chris Callaghan and Middleton's lawyer, Chris Anderson, debated whether Middleton - who has diabetes and was born with polio - should be spared jail amid the pandemic.

Middleton pleaded guilty to seven stealing charges and one fraud charge.
Middleton pleaded guilty to seven stealing charges and one fraud charge.

Mr Callaghan said, given the state's minimal case numbers, the 69-year-old was likely more at risk of catching the virus in the community and ultimately decided jail was warranted as a deterrent for Middleton and others.

"You stole a significant amount of money from this woman who was in an extremely vulnerable position," Mr Callaghan said.

He noted Middleton expressed regret, but had also not paid any of the money back.

He handed Middleton a 12 month jail term, ordering the first three be served behind bars and the remainder be suspended for two years.

Middleton was also ordered to pay $9145 in compensation, though Mr Callaghan said there was "little likelihood" of it being paid as Middleton was on a pension.

Gympie Times

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