‘Spendthrift’ son ordered to pay back thousands he fleeced from his elderly mother 

A greedy son stole more than £700,000 from his mother after discovering he was set to lose out in her will.

Richard Willis spent four years plundering the savings of his elderly mother Audrey while she languished, seriously ill, in a care home.

The 66-year-old used to money to fund a lavish lifestyle – buying himself a new house and spending large sums on expensive food and wine.

Willis, unemployed, has now been released on licence after being sentenced to six years in jail in 2015 after a jury found him guilty on four counts of fraud at Northampton Crown Court.

But a judge has now ordered him to pay back £566,365 within three months or face a further 40 months in prison.

Sitting at a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing Judge Rupert Mayo described Willis as a “spendthrift”, adding: “Money, as it became available to him, burned a hole in his pocket. Whenever Willis had access to his mother’s accounts he would go off and buy antiques, guns, cars and, via credit card, very nice food and wines.

“Sums were expended largely for personal expenditure rather than money that was being squirreled away for later on.

“Willis described himself as having a fascination with gun making and was, I am sure, keen to impress his shooting friends with the correct clothing, 4×4 vehicle and other accoutrements.”

Judge Mayo estimated Willis had benefited to the tune of £713,002 from his criminal conduct and issued a confiscation order for what was believed to be a recoverable amount.

This included £220,000 from hidden assets, £297,143 from the sale of his mother’s cottage, £30,000 from guns and £8,500 from motor vehicles.

The court heard how Willis spent the pilfered savings on shotguns, sports cars like Jaguars, and a £285,000 cottage in his home town of Newport Pagnell.

Willis managed to gain power of attorney for his ageing mother after his father died in 2007 and discovered out he would not be entitled to a large part of her fortune.

In May 2010, he transferred £185,000 from her account and the following month he took a further £190,000.

Willis even sold her retirement flat in Northampton for £199,000 the following year and moved her into a full time care home.

He only used £29,000 from the sale of the property towards her care, the court heard, leaving her just “two sets of clothes to her name” when she died in 2013.

Sue Lyon, Northamptonshire Police financial investigator, said: “Willis was driven by greed to make money and lead an easy, lavish lifestyle, but this legislation allows us to go after him even when he was released from prison.

“This is one of our biggest confiscation orders and, thanks to the investigation, the money recovered will go back to the estate of the late Audrey Willis and then distributed according to the original terms of the will.”

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