Heartless man stole thousands from his own gran

Disgraced Pallett pictured leaving court covering his face.
Disgraced Pallett pictured leaving court covering his face.

A heartless grandson who stole thousands from his 90-year-old grandmother’s bank account has been spared jail.

John Pallett, 36, rifled through Stella Matthews’ Yorkshire Bank account, helping himself to more than £6,000 of her savings.

The fraud came to light when a manager at Yorkshire Bank’s Whitby branch noticed large sums of money leaving the pensioner’s account, York Crown Court heard.

Pallett, who was mired in debt, withdrew at least £6,057 between November 2016 and April this year, said prosecutor Rob Galley.

Pallett’s gran had trusted him to carry out certain transactions for her, but he withdrew sums of up to £1,490 and blew most of the cash on drugs, added the barrister.

Mr Galley said only a tiny fraction was “legitimate expenditure” on behalf of Pallett’s doting grandmother, who had provided him with a roof over his head when he had nowhere else to go.

Pallett, of Thorpe Lane, Robin Hood’s Bay, was arrested and admitted that he had been given access to his grandmother’s bank card and knew her PIN number.

Mr Galley said that on one occasion, when Pallett went to make a cash withdrawal, the bank card was retained by ATM machine. Pallett’s response was to call the bank’s call centre to get a replacement card sent out.

He appeared for sentence on Monday after pleading guilty to one count of fraud at the lower court.

Mr Galley said Pallett had debts of over £2,000, chiefly National Insurance arrears.

“It seems that was the motivation to take money while ‘helping’ his grandmother with some transactions,” added the prosecutor.

“There was significant trust placed in him (by his grandmother) and there had been a significant amount of help given to this defendant (by the elderly victim).”

He said Pallett had previous convictions dating back 17 years, for offences such as attempted robbery, assaults and cannabis production. He had also received cautions in the past for possessing amphetamine.

Defence barrister Glen Parsons said Pallett’s actions had cast “great shame upon him”, adding: “There is no doubt that his grandmother had supported him for many years, both emotionally and with accommodation.”

He said that Pallet, a newly-married father-of-six, had “frittered away” most of his grandmother’s money on drugs, even though he had been earning a wage.

He added that Mrs Matthews still had quite “substantial” funds, but these had been “significantly” depleted by her grandson’s greed. Other family members had helped her out financially.

Judge Paul Batty QC told Pallett: “This was heartless offending. Your 90-year-old grandmother had done more than any grandmother could do for her grandson (in terms of) financial and emotional support over the years, and you repaid her by plundering her bank account… to fund your lifestyle.”

Pallett was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay his grandmother £6,057 compensation.

Mr Batty ordered Pallett to complete a six-month drug-rehabilitation order and carry out 80 hours’ unpaid work.