Fraud investigator blew his grandparents' £76k life savings on 'gambling, escorts and holidays'

A Barclays Bank fraud investigator who blew his grandparents' life savings on "gambling, escorts and holidays" has been put behind bars.

Jamie Dunn left Gerard and Joyce Griffiths "destitute" after he emptied their accounts and spun a "web of lies" about planning to go travelling in America toconvince them to take out high-value loans for him to spend on himself.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 28-year-old conman had been granted Power of Attorney over the couple's finances when Mrs Griffiths, who has Alzheimer's was admitted to hospital in 2017, while he was living with them.

Trusted Dunn used the opportunity to spend more £76,000 of their cash on himself and left the couple, who were former foster carers from South Tyneside, penniless.

Jamie Dunn.

The court heard Mr Griffiths, who has since died, was contacted by his bank last year about the significant sums being taken from his account.

In statements made before his death, Mr Griffiths, then 77, said he was "chewed to bits" about what he had been told so confronted Dunn, who confessed.

Mr Griffiths said: "I am 77 years old and my wife Joyce is 72.

"We have worked hard all our lives to be comfortable in retirement. We have fostered children for 20 to 30 years and always tried our best to do what was right.

"None of them ever stole from us.

"We took Jamie in when he had nowhere else to go, we didn't ask him for money from him.

"He has completely destroyed the family. We trusted him, he was our grandson and he has repaid us by stealing our life savings.

"If it wasn't for our son Anthony coming to live with us we wouldn't be able to eat. He has literally left us destitute.

"I think Jamie has taken this opportunity to take advantage of us.

"The £10,000 I had put in an ISA was to cover our funeral, I can't even afford to pay for that now."

Mr Griffiths said he found Dunn's betrayal "unforgivable" and added; "I have never had debt in my life.

"Since this has happened I actually go to bed and get myself really upset about the whole situation.

"I cry thinking about it."

Dunn, of Shields Road, Newcastle, admitted six theft and fraud charges.

Judge Christopher Prince sentenced him to a total of 28 months behind bars.

The judge told him: "You spent your grandparents money on gambling, escorts and holidays. You spent it on a lavish lifestyle.

"That you were addicted to gambling may explain why you would spend and lose all of your own money but it does not justify you stealing money from your grandparents so you could continue to gambling and have a lifestyle of escorts and holidays."

Fiona Lamb, defending, said Dunn has "heartfelt remorse" for what he did and added: "He has been left with no family, which, of course, is his own fault.”

The court heard Dunn has sought help with his gambling problem.

As Dunn, who claims to have paid back over £16,000, was led away to start the jail term, he told the court: "I am ever so sorry".