Man swindled pounds 1m from mother-in-law

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A HIGH-LIVING conman who told police he swindled his elderly mother-in-law out of more than pounds 1m was jailed for five years and eight months yesterday.

John Dolley, 35, spared no expense as he dined in expensive hotels, quaffed champagne in his room, snorted cocaine and tipped doormen hundreds of pounds as he nightclubbed with his minders and entourage.But his life was funded by his 76-year-old mother-in-law, Mary Allan, who sold her home, possessions and even borrowed money from friends to give to the smooth-tongued Dolley.

By the time he was arrested, Mrs Allan, now living in rented accommodation, said all she had left was "the clothes I stand in", Exeter Crown Court was told.

Dolley yesterday changed his pleas to admit seven specimen charges of obtaining in the region of pounds 63,000 by deception from Mrs Allan between March 1989 and March 1993.

He told the police he had taken a total of pounds 1.5m, "maybe more, maybe less", from Mrs Allan.

Passing sentence, Judge Jeremy Griggs said Dolley, from Diss, Norfolk, had made extensive admissions about removing large sums of money from his mother-in-law, reducing her to penury from substantial means.

But the judge said he had been told by counsel for the defence, Alistair Malcolm QC, that Dolley did not accept any criminality beyond the seven charges he admitted.

The judge said he dealt with Dolley on that basis.

Mrs Allan was not in court yesterday to see Dolley sentenced, and was said to have returned to her home in the east of England.