Page last updated at 20:03 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Couple jailed for 'callous' theft

A 64-year-old wife who stole thousands of pounds from a vulnerable Norfolk woman after befriending her has been jailed for three and a half years.

Dennesse Hume appeared at Norwich Crown Court alongside her husband Stephen, also 64, who was sentenced to 12 months for money laundering.

The couple, from Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire, stole from the woman in her 50s with a mental age of seven.

Judge Simon Barham said: "It was utterly callous and heartless."

Mrs Hume admitted 14 offences of theft involving more than 65,000 and her husband pleaded guilty to five offences amounting to 29,000 between 13 May 2005 and 6 September 2005.

Giovanni Marasca, 44, of Sawston, Cambridgeshire, the couple's former son-in-law, was also involved in the crimes and was given 26 weeks custody suspended for 12 months with 150 hours unpaid community work.

Devastating for victim

He was also ordered to pay compensation of 9,085 to the victim.

Judge Barham said to all three: "You befriended a vulnerable woman in her 50s with learning difficulties and began looking after her.

"She had relied on her parents who she lived with. They died in 2004 and she was on her own. You were introduced to her and then ruthlessly and callously took advantage of her.

"Her bungalow was sold well below its real value at 120,000 when it could have been sold for 150,000 and then the thefts of money occurred between May 2005 and September 2005.

"You took between 2,000 and 10,000 at a time and put it in your family accounts. The money was used to buy a car and to repay your debts. It must have been devastating for her."

The woman was not named in court but the judge said that she lived at Hunstanton in West Norfolk.

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