THE SON of a late dementia sufferer fleeced out of her savings by her greedy ‘friend’ has met with a minister in his campaign for law changes to protect others.
We revealed last November that Kenilworth man Nick Lewis’s campaign had led to a government review aimed at bolstering protections to prevent vulnerable elderly people being defrauded after they grant ‘power of attorney’ over their financial affairs to others.
Our special report last October revealed how Margaret Rigby – a former cub scout leader who masqueraded as a charitable do-gooder – swindled her now dead dementia suffering ‘friend of 40 years’ out of around £60,000 savings – to finance a lavish lifestyle.
Mrs Lewis, who had lived in Coventry, had entrusted her friend Rigby, now aged 80, by granting her ‘power of attorney’ – which meant she was entitled to spend Mrs Lewis’s money solely for Mrs Lewis’s care and well-being.
Instead, the cash taken from Mrs Lewis’s account was blown for the benefit of Rigby, her daughter and son-in-law – as Mrs Lewis lay seriously ill with deteriorating brain functioning and memory loss in a Kent care home.
Her son’s campaign follows the conviction in November of Rigby, her ex-policeman son-in-law Allan Macdonald and her daughter Jayne Macdonald, a retired nurse, formerly of Earlsdon, Coventry.
The three, who now live in Kent, escaped jail – Rigby on health grounds – but received suspended sentences following last September’s guilty verdicts.
Since then, the court at Canterbury has ordered them to only repay around a quarter of the money they benefited from.
The cash was blown on two cars and a caravan, a holiday to America and other trips, expensive family gifts, Take That concert tickets, clearing credit card bills, expensive meals at restaurants, and other luxuries.
It was also blown on expensive dental treatment for Rigby’s daughter, a cooker for the Rigby household, a £500 coffee machine, and even a ‘chicken house’ – as Mrs Lewis lay in bed only able to eat pureed food.
Mr Lewis, along with his Kenilworth MP Jeremy Wright who is the Attorney General, recently met Justice minister Caroline Dineage and civil servants in Parliament to discuss future protections.
Mr Lewis said: “I am seeking to ensure that what happened to my mum doesn’t happen to others.
“I was supported by Mr Wright in the meeting. There needs to be measures to prevent this from happening again, not just guidelines which are open to abuse.”
Mr Lewis has proposed that anyone with power of attorney should be required, at intervals, to present the accounts to an appointed inspector – with supporting receipts and other documents.
He says, with an ever-increasing elderly population, dementia is a rapidly increasing issue, and many more people will be given Power Of Attorney.