Greedy couple who dreamt of being millionaires fleeced parents leaving them 28p
A couple who swindled their elderly parents, leaving them with just 28p, were reduced to tears when they saw each other on a court video link.
Gary Mansell, 61, and his wife Diane, 58, had been defrauding his vulnerable parents for over three years while acting as their power of attorney. The couple, who once dreamt of becoming millionaires, were finally caught and convicted of fraud and money laundering at Liverpool Crown Court last month, the Liverpool Echo reports.
When they saw each other on the video link in court yesterday morning (November 8) for the sentencing, they waved before breaking down in tears. However, Honour Judge David Swinnerton described their actions as despicable and said they "should be ashamed".
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The court heard how Fred and Enid Mansell moved out of their family home on Stonyhurst Road, Woolton, in October 2017 after Fred had a serious fall and Enid was diagnosed with dementia. The couple, who had lived in their home since 1965, owned it outright and had a significant amount of equity. They also owned two cars and had a healthy bank balance thanks to their state and work pensions which brought in up to £2,700 each month.
Diane and Gary Mansell were given power of attorney over Fred and Enid due to the elderly couple's age and vulnerabilities. Once they had power of attorney, Diane and Gary sold the house for £150,000 – significantly below the asking price. The court heard that Diane and Gary used the money to convert their garage into a living area for their parents. However, Fred and Enid's living area was separated by an alarmed wooden door.
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Gary and Diane kept social workers away from the house as much as possible, and if they did visit, the pair insisted on being present. Fred and Enid were "controlled", fed ready meals and kept shut away. They barely left the house and between August 2017 and November 2021 only went on holiday for two days to Llandudno.
During this time, Gary and Diane, who had dreams of living the high life, were splashing out on luxuries they couldn't afford. The court heard how they jetted off to Jamaica for a fortnight, holidayed in Cape Verde, and enjoyed stays at the posh Grand Hotel in York. Diane alone spent £9,000 on her teeth, drove a flashy gold BMW with a private number plate, and had a collection of pricey Chanel and Louboutin bags. She also splashed out thousands on Joe Malone perfumes.
Despite their lavish lifestyle, Diane didn't enjoy looking after Fred and Enid. One message revealed in court showed she felt "used and abused by the b*******"." The couple, who tied the knot in Las Vegas in 2005, made over 100 withdrawals from Fred and Enid's accounts, totalling around £158,000, and the prosecution believed about £218,000 of Fred and Enid's money was taken over three-and-a-half years.
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Gary and Diane Mansell were found guilty of removing criminal property and fraud by abuse of position in October this year.
The couple from Camp Road, Woolton, were sentenced to six years in prison. Gary appeared via video link from HMP Liverpool, while Diane was at HMP Styal, and a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will take place next March.
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