Will-writer stole from dead man's estate

A will-writer who stole tens of thousands of pounds from a dead man's estate, spending it on a cruise on the QE2 and gambling, was today jailed for two and a half years.

Martin Lloyd was supposed to hand the money, left in a will, to a number of charities but instead kept it for himself.



Lloyd, 57, of Symington Street, Northampton, was today jailed at Northampton Crown Court after admitting theft while in a position of trust.



Prosecutor Alex Bull said: "He ran a will-writing business. In 2001 he drew up a will for Raymond Lake and was asked to be his executor.



"In November 2005 Mr Lake died. In January 2006, Mr Lloyd applied for probate. He advised that the value of the estate did not exceed £135,000."



She said 25% of the money was to be divided between Mr Lake's two nieces, while 5% was to go to his church in Yelvertoft, Northampton, 10% to the Injured Jockeys Fund and 60% to Cancer Research UK.



But the court heard the Injured Jockeys Fund and Cancer Research never received their money. Instead the money was paid into Lloyd's own account.



Miss Bull said: "In interview he said he spent £14,000 on a cruise on the QE2 with his wife, £26,000 on gambling and the rest he could not account for specifically but admitted he had spent it."



She said he told police he had been working as a will-writer since 1993, but had "got into a bit of a mess" with his tax payments.

The court heard Lloyd owed £50,000 by the time he was made bankrupt last year.



He was charged in February of this year with theft between August 2009 and January this year.



Today Judge Michael Fowler told him he had stolen whilst in a position of trust.



He said: "Having set up a business that in itself feeds on the trust of those who used your services you then agreed to be the executor to the estate of Raymond Lake.



"Having agreed to be his executor, obviously fully aware of the potential beneficiaries of his will, after his death you took the opportunity to steal from his estate to such an extent that the benefit to you was over £100,000.



"People came to you, and in Mr Lake's case especially, put in your hands the results of a lifetime's work, expecting them to go after his death not only to members of his family but to those charities that he thought were deserving of his help, and clearly they were.



"You then dipped into the estate of Mr Lake, depriving the Injured Jockeys Fund and Cancer Research of the funds that Mr Lake intended to go to benefit them."



Judge Fowler told Lloyd another factor was what the money had been spent on, saying: "£14,000 on a cruise for yourself and your wife is an extreme luxury and must have been apparent to you at the time you committed this offence."



The judge said he did not accept Lloyd's claims that he did not know where the rest of the money had gone and dismissed defence suggestions that the gambling had been a real attempt to get back the money to repay the estate.



He ordered a confiscation order in the sum of £65,240.61 to be paid by way of compensation to the charities.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable