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Pensioner who neglected elderly Cranham mother spared jail

PUBLISHED: 16:08 20 February 2015 | UPDATED: 16:19 20 February 2015

Snaresbrook Crown Court Pic: John Stillwell/PA

Snaresbrook Crown Court Pic: John Stillwell/PA

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A pensioner who left his elderly mother wallowing in her own filth while spending her pension has been spared jail today.

Brian Matthews’ mother Winifred Matthews, now 98, was living without hot water, central heating, a phone or even a working toilet at her Cranham house.

It is thought he spent at least £19,680 of her money between January 2010 and July 2013.

The floors of her home were coated in urine and excrement and she was using torn newspaper as toilet roll.

Appearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Matthews, 75, was given a two-year suspended sentence after being convicted of two counts of fraud and one of neglect last month.

During his 10-day trial, the court heard he would leave his mother bottles of sherry to keep her drunk.

Mrs Matthews’ living conditions only came to light after her niece, Rosalind Reynolds, visited in early 2012 and alerted Havering Council.

Police began investigating Matthews after his mother was admitted to a Romford care home in February 2013. He was arrested and charged in January 2014.

The retired security guard, of Old Yarmouth Road, Suffolk, told the court his mother was “a stubborn woman” who refused to let him change the house.

Noel Casey, for Matthews, said compensation and a curfew would be the best sentence, to stop him “visiting the village pub in the evenings for a few months.”

Sentencing Matthews, Judge Bernard Doherty told him: “You spent the bare minimum to keep her alive, the evidence is that she was living in absolute squalor.”

Matthews was ordered to pay £20,000 compensation to his mother and £5,000 prosecution costs.

He was tagged and put under a 7pm-6am curfew for six months and barred from contacting Ms Reynolds and her husband.

He can still make supervised visits to his mother.


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