'Thoroughly dishonest' mother jailed for stealing daughters' inheritance

A "thoroughly dishonest" mother who stole her daughters' inheritance has been jailed.

Katherine Hill, 53, worked with her 93-year-old father, Gerald Hill, to cheat her children out of the money left to them by their grandmother, a court heard.

Gemma and Jessica Thomas had been left £50,000 in their grandmother's will.

It stated they could access the money once they turned 25, but Katherine and Gerald Hill emptied the account in just over a year.

At Swansea Crown Court on Friday, Ms Hill, from Pontardawe near Swansea, was handed a 30-month prison sentence.

Mr Hill, of the Gower, was handed a suspended sentence. If he were jailed, the judge feared he would cause "chaos" to the prison system due to his advanced age.

'Spiteful and dishonest'

Recorder Greg Bull KC said Ms Hill had instigated the scam and had used her father as a "patsy".

"I'm satisfied that you were so annoyed that your daughters had been left more money than you, that you spitefully and dishonestly decided to obtain their inheritance," he said.

"You did it in part for greed - not only through greed but also in spite, the spite being that your daughters decided to live with their father rather than you. You used this money as a weapon against your own children."

In mitigation, barrister Matt Murphy, who spoke on behalf of Ms Hill, said she was "considered by her colleagues to be trustworthy".

He said the offence was a "one-off, unique scenario in her life".

'Effectively under house arrest'

Speaking for Mr Hill, Harry Dickens asked for his client not to be jailed due to his age.

Mr Dickens said his client was effectively under "house arrest", as no family or friends would talk to him since the offence.

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In a victim impact statement read on her behalf, Jessica Thomas said the incident had been "seriously damaging to [her] mental health".

"I find it hard to understand how my family could have caused such hurt and pain to their own flesh and blood," she added.

Prosecutor James Hartson also read a statement on behalf of Gemma Thomas who said she and her sister had been "exploited out of money".

"I have been let down and lied to by two people who are my blood and my family," she added.