Crook who stole £78k from Love Actually star is told to pay back £550

Jailed conman who swindled Love Actually and Upstairs Downstairs star of her £78,000 life savings is ordered to pay back just £550

  • Late Meg Wynn Owen, 82, gave friend Brian Malam, 60, her power of attorney 
  • Instead Malam, 60, stole £78,064.13 of her savings as she lived in a care home 
  • The actress, whose real name was Meg Wright, died before Malam was jailed

A trusted friend who swindled a Love Actually actress of her £78,000 life savings before she died has been ordered to pay back just £550.

Dementia suffer Meg Wynn Owen, 82, was left penniless and forced to wear dead people’s clothes at her care home after her savings were raided by pal Brian Malam, 60. 

She had previously starred alongside Hugh Grant in the 2003 smash-hit romcom, working as the prime minister’s private secretary. She died in July 2022. 

Malam, who was a costume designer on Doctor Who video games, was entrusted by the actress – whose real name was Meg Wright – to transfer cash from her account to her care home. 

Instead the heartless conman siphoned £78,064.13 from while her health was deteriorating. He was jailed for two years and eight months in November last year after pleading guilty to fraud while occupying a position of trust. 

Meg Wynn Owen, 82, had her life saving stolen from her by Brian Malam, 60. She played Hugh Grant’s secretary when he was Prime Minister in Love Actually 

The actress, who suffered from dementia, had to have care home staff cut her hair when she was unable to afford a hairdresser. Here she appears in the Love Actually dancing scene

Heartless conman Brian Malam, 60, siphoned more than £78,000 of funding from his friend as her health deteriorated. He was jailed last year and has now been ordered to pay back just £550

But now a judge at a proceeds of crime hearing has said the crooked customer designer should pay back just £550 – less than one per cent of what was taken.  

READ MORE: Love Actually and Upstairs, Downstairs star was reduced to dressing in dead people’s clothes at care home after conman swindled her of her life savings

Cardiff Crown Court heard the pair had struck up a friendship while working on BBC shows before Malam was made her power of attorney.

But between 2015 and 2019, Malam managed to bleed her saving accounts dry, stealing thousands of pounds from the dementia sufferer. 

Mrs Wright, who was known for her roles in shows including Pride & Prejudice and Upstairs, Downstairs, died just four months before he was jailed for the crime. 

Prosecutor Abigail Jackson said the alarm was raised by her bank when they spotted suspicious activity on Mrs Wright’s account.

She said: ‘Mrs Wright became terribly upset about it. The matter was then reported to the police in September 2020.

‘That’s how the investigation with the police started and the matter came to light.’

The court heard Mrs Wright’s Barclay’s account was left with a £1,750.12 overdraft which was later written off by the bank.

Mrs Wright, who is known for her roles in Upstairs, Downstairs (pictured) and Pride & Prejudice, was left wearing the clothes of ‘deceased’ residents at her care home after having her life savings swindled

She had just £229.94 left in another account and just 72p and 21p in a third and fourth bank account.

As well as having to wear ‘deceased’ residents’ clothes, Mrs Wright was also left having her hair cut by staff as she couldn’t afford a hairdresser.

The court heard Malam claimed he had used the money for his own show business costume company while also spending it on alcohol.

Judge Paul Hobson said Malam had been made power of attorney which was ‘an important position of trust carrying with it a great deal of responsibility’.

‘Your victim had to be dressed in clothes that belonged to deceased residents of her care home due to insufficient funds,’ he said. 

‘She was reduced by your actions towards her.’

The court was previously told Malam had stolen at least £65,000. But the latest proceeds of crime hearing heard that the total benefit from his crime, calculated by prosecutors, was £78,064.13.

Malam, of Grangetown, Cardiff, has now been ordered to pay back just £550 by Judge Parry at the latest court hearing.

He said: ‘The available and therefore reasonable amount that can be paid is £550.’

Malam must pay the funds within three months or face a further two months in prison.

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