Widow of 7/7 bombing victim jailed for stealing £43,000 from her son's compensation fund

Louise Gray, 42, blew £250,000 of her own compensation before taking her son’s money

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The Independent Online

The widow of a victim of the 7/7 bombings in London has been jailed for two years and eight months after admitting she stole £43,000 from her son’s compensation – after having spent £250,000 of her own.

Louise Gray, 42, had spent the £250,000 awarded to her in compensation on cars, clothes and going on luxury holidays before she turned to her son Adam’s fund and stole thousands of pounds from him between July 2012 and November 2013.

Her late husband, Richard Gray, 41, an accountant, was one of the 52 people killed in the 2005 attacks, and had been travelling to work on the London Underground Circle Line train that had been targeted by suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer. Adam was aged 11 at the time.

  The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority awarded Ms Gray with the money two years after her husband’s death. Gray’s daughter was awarded £100,000 at the same time and the son Adam was given £50,000.

The children’s money was placed in a trust until they turned 18, and later Adam gave his portion of his money to his mother for safe keeping.

Adam discovered his money had been spent in November 2013 when he was trying to buy some property, at which point his mother confessed to him that she had spent the majority of it.

Ms Grey was prosecuted for theft after her son reported the case to the police. She was ordered by a county court judge to repay the money in full after her son took civil action, and her offer to pay £10,000 followed by monthly instalments was rejected.

Prosecutor Michael Crimp described how Ms Grey attempted to reach out to her son by texting him that Christmas to say she could not face losing him, and admitting that her actions were “so wrong and disgusting”. She also expressed fears about having a tumour that appeared to be “unfounded”.

“To him, it seemed like a guilt trip,” Mr Crimp added, claiming that Adam equated it to “emotional blackmail”. 

http://ind-appweb-migr:6085/migrator/ws/publication/independentLondon/resource/binary/569579Her barrister denied accusations that she had “frittered” away the money, claiming: “She was living in a situation where she simply could not work, paying the ordinary annual amount to meet the cost of living, in the region of £30,000 or thereabouts.”

The widow had admitted to spending her son’s money at a hearing in Ipswich Crown Court last month, and today she was handed a jail sentence for the “serious” offence committed against her son.

Judge David Goodin told Gray in court: “The offence you have committed against your son, the trust you betrayed – a second hammer blow following the death of his father – is so serious it can only be met by a custodial sentence.”

“The loss of a father in any circumstances, particularly in such violent circumstances, would have been a grievous blow to an 11-year-old Adam. Nobody would have known that better than you.”

The judge said Ms Gray would serve half of her sentence in custody before being released on licence.

Additional reporting by Press Association