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`Wicked' pair are jailed for stealing OAP's life savings.

Byline: ERYL CRUMP

A CARER convicted of stealing a vulnerable pensioner's life savings was last night behind bars.

Leeswood mum-of-two Sharon Draper was jailed for 12 months.

Her estranged husband Martin Draper, 37, of Fford Pentre, Mold, was given an eight month jail term.

The pair, branded ``wicked'' by the judge, were ordered to pay pounds 6, 000 towards court costs.

A Mold Crown Court jury convicted the Drapers, who are now separated, of stealing pounds 15, 120 from Florence Jean Shakeshaft.

Mrs Shakeshaft, who has since died of a heart attack, lived alone in the Great Sutton area of Cheshire, and Sharon Draper was her carer between March 2002 and April 2003.

Employed by Care UK on behalf of Cheshire council's social services department, she was responsible for looking after the elderly woman's pension and financial affairs.

But the 35-year-old, of Bronallt, stole more than pounds 15, 000 from Mrs Shakeshaft's bank account.

It was used to buy a car and repay debts. Jailing them at Caernarfon Crown Court Judge Philip Richards said: ``One of the most depressing trials I have ever heard revealed the extent of your avarice and wickedness.

``You, Sharon Draper, principally committed, and you, Martin Draper, assisted, knowing full well the circumstances in which Florence Jean Shakeshaft lived. ''

Speaking directly to Sharon Draper, the judge added: ``When you came into her life, she was a lady in her late 80s and the money was her life savings. It was everything she possessed.

``Over a substantial period of time, you deliberately stripped her of every asset. ''

Branding her breach of trust ``immense'', the judge said a prison sentence was inevitable.

The judge added: ``I am fully satisfied that you, Martin Draper, knew you were dealing with the money of an old lady who lived in a council flat. ''

David Potter, defending, urged the judge instead to impose a size able fine.

He said the bulk of the money was repaid earlier this year and the remainder, some pounds 2, 500, had been deposited with solicitors.

Mr Potter said Mrs Draper had lost her good character as a result of her conviction and would find it difficult to find work in the future.

``Another factor, though not one that mitigates, is that Mrs Shakeshaft was unaware she was a victim of deception and had no real insight what she, Sharon Draper, had done, '' said Mr Potter Andrew Jebb, for Martin Draper, also urged leniency to prevent the couple's two children, aged 13 and 11, from being apart from their parents for too long.

The couple denied stealing the cash, claiming it was a generous gift from an elderly lady who decided she ``could not take it with her''.

CAPTION(S):

Sharon Draper (left) and her estranged husband Martin Draper are led away to start their jail terms
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 27, 2004
Words:470
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