Jean Beaumont had lost her husband, and her health. She was gradually losing her mental faculties. At 81, the world was changing round her in ways she coud no longer comprehend.
She was grateful when the young couple next door took an interest in her and started to sort out some of her affairs. So grateful that she decided to leave them some money. Quite a lot of money in fact, most of her substantial savings.
Ah, the impatience of youth. Mark Boyd Smith and Michelle Cooper couldn’t wait until Jean died and they received their bequest.
They set about stripping her assets from around her as she sat, lonely and frail, in her terraced home in Bradford.
They helped themselves to £30,000 of foreign holidays in Amsterdam and Spain, hired cars, bought clothes and expensive jewellery. Jean was oblivious to all this.
Two years after these thefts commenced, Bradford Social Services received an anonymous phone call alerting them to the impoverished and malnourished state of Jean Beaumont and her home.
Remember that salient fact – an anonymous phone call.
Social Services took her into care in a residential home. They had no idea of the involvement of Boyd Smith and Cooper.
On Friday, Judge Benson jailed the pair of them for five years for the theft of Jean Beaumont’s possessions.
“The courts must protect vulnerable people, particularly the elderly, from the ravages of dishonest people like you,” Judge Benson said.
Quite, quite, Judge Benson. They must indeed. That is what the Court of Protection is supposed to do. It didn’t.
Remember the anonymous phone call? It took Social Services to Jean’s door. When they took her into care, their next port of call was to the Court of Protection to get permission to sell her house to pay for her care.
They couldn’t get permission! Why not? Because the Court of Protection had already granted permission to two other individuals to look after Jean Beaumont’s financial affairs.
The two unsavoury drug dealers who lived nearby – name of Mark Boyd Smith and Michelle Cooper.
Jean had been under the tender care of the Court of Protection all the time; they had supervised as a new will was made leaving everything to her friendly local drug dealers, they had supervised the pair as they stripped her accounts – they had noticed nothing wrong…..not so much as raised an eyebrow.
It took a concerned neighbour to realise that she was by now physically in danger, and it was only when another state department applied for permission to rob her bank accounts and found they had been beaten to it that anybody thought anything was amiss. Social Services called the police in to investigate.
The Court of Protection is an utterly useless organisation which succeeds only to pay for itself out of the fees it extracts from the frail and feeble supposedly under its care.
Jean Beaumont would have been a lot better off – literally – if the Court of Protection had never existed. At least no one would have been given a licence to strip her assets. You might think that they will now do something about retrieving what little money they can from this larcenous pair – but they won’t. It’s not in their remit you see. They will tell you that Jean was ‘exercising her autonomy’ under Human Rights legislation……
Every week, Tom Harris complains about the ‘incompetent and useless’ IPSA civil servants who are making it so difficult for him to access tax payers money by way of expenses. Not once have I heard him, or any other Labour ‘protector of the poor and vulnerable’ politician, or Con-Dem for that matter, utter a single word of condemnation regarding the scandal of the incompetent and useless Court of Protection.