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Nelson thief stole £20K lifesavings from mum's partner
7:05pm Friday 30th August 2013 in News
A THIEF who stole his mum's pensioner partner's £20,000 life savings faked a burglary to cover up his crime, a court heard.
Graham Banks, 39, had stolen a safe belonging to 72-year-old Norman Lyons from the Nelson home the three shared, threw it into a field and took the cash.
But suspicions had been aroused when the victim and Banks's mother had returned home to find him apparently clearing up what he claimed was damage from a break-in.
The defendant told the couple he had found two men raiding the property and they had made off.
Burnley Crown Court heard how nothing else but the safe had been taken, jewellery had not been touched and the police didn't believe his story.
The hearing was told Banks could have flown to Las Vegas and blown the cash.
Instead, he went to Blackpool, where he stayed for four days in a £50-a-night guest house and spent little of the proceeds. Most of the money had been recovered, but the victim had been devastated when he had thought he had lost what he had worked hard all his life for.
The defendant, who has a criminal record, claimed there had been friction between his mother and Mr Lyons over paying for lodgings and he did it to get back at him.
Banks, from Nelson, but currently of no fixed address, admitted theft and had been committed for sentence by Pennine magistrates. He was given a 12 month community order, with supervision.
Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said Banks was not happy Mr Lyons had moved into the property where he lived with his mother and on June 20, decided he would steal the safe and effectively stage a burglary.
Police were called and crime scenes investigators were also convinced there had been no burglary.
Miss Statham said two neighbours had seen Banks walking down the street carrying a large heavy object. One of them thought it was a metal safe.
The defendant was questioned by police 10 days later on June 30 and made frank admissions.
James Heyworth, for Banks, described the case as 'peculiar'. He said :" One would have thought, if his intention was to spend the money, he would have been on the first flight to Las Vegas, not a trip to Blackpool."
Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt said the planning in the 'mean' offence was 'a bit devious.'