A VULNERABLE pensioner was fleeced by her own daughter to fund a gambling spree.

Sharon Hamilton appeared in court over taking cash from her mother’s account 39 times.

The 53-year-old from Seaford had legal power of attorney for Maureen Buss, her mother.

She paid herself 39 times and splurged more than £35,000 from the account she had a legal duty to protect.

At Lewes Crown Court, Hamilton admitted the fraud, which has reportedly torn her relationships with her siblings apart.

The court heard how Hamilton did not attend her mother’s funeral because of the bad blood caused.

Lewes Crown Court.

Lewes Crown Court.

It was revealed Hamilton’s husband has helped make efforts to repay the cash and taken control of her finances to help her overcome her gambling.

The court heard how the Hamilton’s wanted to restrict The Argus reporting on the case, but they were told there were no grounds for reporting restrictions to be imposed.

Sophie Evans, prosecuting, said the thefts took place between April and July 2019 and said Mrs Buss was “vulnerable” because of her circumstances.

Hamilton was in a position of power of attorney, in which she was expected to safeguard, or not act against, the financial interests of Ms Buss.

Hannah Hurley, defending, said her client has her own vulnerabilities and said she has tried to make amends.

Her Honour Judge Janet Waddicor said the fraud was an “appalling” crime, and delayed sentencing Hamilton in October last year.

She said the fact Hamilton had not by that point paid any money would have been “salt in the wounds” of her siblings and family.

But Hamilton was given the chance to make amends and made “commendable efforts”, the judge said.

Sharon Hamilton leaves Brighton Magistrates' Court

It was revealed that her brother did not wish for Hamilton to go to prison.

Hamilton, of Tide Mills Way, Seaford was given a 20-month suspended prison sentence.

The judge said: “I’m pleased you have had thinking time since the last hearing. This was offending committed while in a position of trust as your mother’s power of attorney.

“You have taken positive steps to make amends. I hope the rift between you and your family will be healed.”

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