Woman stole £17k from grandad for ‘attention’ and to fund online gaming habit

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A woman stole £17,100 from her 74-year-old grandfather to fund her online gaming habit and to get attention, magistrates have heard.

Robecca Zoe Louth, 22, of Chapel Street, Boston, appeared before the town’s magistrates’ court, pleading guilty to stealing the money between March 2009 and June 2013.

Prosecutor Paul Woods told the court on Wednesday Louth had moved in with her grandfather, described by his daughter as ‘vulnerable’, five years ago where she became a ‘kind of carer’.

After six months she moved out, and her mother noticed issues with statements – including ‘double transactions’ where the same amount was taken out twice.

Mr Woods said the transactions stopped for a time but eventually Louth was given her grandfather’s new card, and this time wrote down the details before handing it back.

He said she used the money to buy clothes online, which she would later sell to pay bills, gamble online and play online games. Payments got so frequent that on one day in 2009 there were 21 transactions.

Mr Woods read a statement from the victim which said: “It has left me devastated. I have had to go without things because of what she has done.

“I want to see her, she’s my granddaughter, but she needs stopping, she needs help.”

Mr Woods said when she was interviewed Louth said he was ‘only complaining because her mother was behind him’ and later said she was addicted to gambling and was a shopaholic.

Defending, Philippa Chatterton said initially in some way Louth had carried out the transactions to ‘get attention’ from and ‘punish’ her mother, whom she had begun to resent for not paying her attention when she was growing up and for ‘spending time with her boyfriends’.

“Sadly, as a result of these offences, her mother is not speaking to her at all,” she said. “The one person she does love, and she does love her grandfather, has been hurt most by this.”

She went on to describe how everything had ‘spiralled out of control’ and became a form of addiction, adding: “She honestly didn’t believe it would go on so long.”

She said Louth has had regular contact with her grandfather since the arrest and he had even taken her to court.

Miss Chatterton said her client is doing whatever she can to compensate him, including caring for him.

She added: “She has said to him: ‘never trust me again with bank cards, I never want the temptation’.”

Magistrates sent Louth to crown court to be sentenced.