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Moray man Ivan Downes admits stealing £120k from elderly woman

By Ali Morrison

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A Moray man has admitted stealing £120,000 from bank accounts belonging to an ailing relative of his wife.

Ivan Downes pictured outside court.
Ivan Downes pictured outside court.

Ivan Downes, who lives in Forres, stole the cash over an extended period of six years, often withdrawing the maximum daily £300 limit from ATMs.

Inverness Sheriff Court today heard that 160 of these withdrawals were made from machines in and around Buckie where Downes used to live.

The thefts began after the elderly lady had a stroke in 2007 and was admitted to a care home in the London suburb of Barnet.

Downes’ wife was subsequently granted power of attorney over her affairs.

When the elderly woman died on January 4, 2013, her other relatives had expected there would be a significant amount of money to share out amongst her grandchildren.

Instead, they found just £7.98 left in her bank accounts.

Downes initially tried to blame his wife, Linda, who is now also deceased.

However, the 73-year-old changed his plea to guilty on the second day of his trial after the jury had been empanelled.

And in a dramatic and unexpected twist, it was revealed to the court that he would repay the money immediately.

David Nicolson, his defence counsel, said: "He has recently come into a large sum of money and can make compensation. It is readily available in his bank account."

It was not revealed in court where this windfall had come from.

The schedule showed that Downes has convictions going back to 1967, including ones for larceny, theft and dishonesty.

In addition he also has a murder conviction for which he was jailed at Norwich Crown Court in 1992.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank deferred sentence until June 21 so that a background report could be prepared.

Downes was granted bail earlier today but warned he may yet be jailed.

Sheriff Cruickshank said: "Even if that sum is paid, all options remain open to the court for sentencing."

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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