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Woman who posed as a trusted friend stole £120,000 from man with Alzheimer’s

A woman has been sentenced to five years and eight months in prison after defrauding an elderly man with Alzheimer’s out of nearly £120,000.

Michelle Brathwaite, 48, of Silchester Road, Kensington posed as former journalist Sir Samuel Brittan’s friend and helper, and claimed she had a degree from Cambridge University, to gain his trust and that of his family.

Between 1 August 2016 and 30 April 2017, she went on to transfer approximately £117,000 from his bank accounts to her own, and used his American Express credit card to fund holidays and buy designer clothes.

Officers from the City of London Police began investigating when they were notified by Sir Brittan’s bank of irregular use of the peer's card.

Brathwaite pleaded guilty at the start of her trial at Southwark Crown Court on 11 December 2018 to three counts of fraud (one by abuse of position and two by false representation) and one count of theft. 

She was sentenced today (Thursday 14 February 2019) at the same court.

During sentencing, Judge Loraine-Smith described Brathwaite as "an extraordinarily dishonest and deceitful woman whose only intention was to steal his money and enjoy it. And that is exactly what she did."

Detective Constable Alex Wilson, from the City of London Police, said:

“Brathwaite abused her position of trust to steal thousands of pounds from a vulnerable man who thought she was there to help him. By posing as Sir Brittan’s friend, she was able to completely control his finances without him noticing and went to considerable lengths to deny these crimes when she was confronted." 

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