Be­trayed war vet­eran dies pau­per

Daugh­ter shocks fam­ily by steal­ing ev­ery­thing for gam­bling and life­style, writes Kelly Den­nett.

Sunday Star-Times - - FRONT PAGE -

When World War II vet­eran Ron Green­halgh died on Fa­ther’s Day last year, he had noth­ing but the sec­ond-hand clothes on his back, af­ter his daugh­ter stripped him of his life sav­ings and spent them.

When Green­halgh, 95, was ad­mit­ted to a rest-home with de­men­tia, he had a home and sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings.

By the time he died, his daugh­ter had al­legedly spent about $250,000 of his money at the TAB and to main­tain her own life­style, leav­ing barely enough for the fu­neral.

Her only brother, Mike Green­halgh, is dev­as­tated by her theft and has been left ask­ing why the de­ple­tion of their fa­ther’s ac­counts was the only thing that stopped her.

Carolyn Diane Al­leyne will be sen­tenced in the Manukau Dis­trict Court, on Tues­day, af­ter plead­ing guilty to six rep­re­sen­ta­tive charges of theft by a person in a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship.

Ron Green­halgh was liv­ing in a care home with de­men­tia when Al­leyne be­gan us­ing her power of at­tor­ney to ac­cess his bank ac­counts, tak­ing about $250,000, says Mike Green­halgh.

When Ron’s money ran out she moved him out of his care home and into her Paku­ranga abode.

Shortly after­ward he was hos­pi­talised with pneu­mo­nia and spent eight weeks mov­ing be­tween var­i­ous hospi­tals, even­tu­ally dy­ing in an aged-care fa­cil­ity on Fa­ther’s Day last year.

Mike Green­halgh be­came sus­pi­cious af­ter Al­leyne trans­ferred Ron’s car into her name, and sought ad­vice from var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions, but noth­ing was done.

Mike and his wife Jenny pre­vi­ously had a good re­la­tion­ship with Al­leyne, fre­quently vis­it­ing her and her hus­band at their home, and were gob­s­macked when they learned Al­leyne had ef­fec­tively spent Mike Green­halgh’s en­tire in­her­i­tance.

It’s one of a num­ber of largescale thefts of el­derly mak­ing it through the courts in re­cent times.

In 2016, Taranaki woman Helen Christine Wil­liams was sen­tenced to home de­ten­tion and or­dered to re­pay her fa­ther Ray Thom­son af­ter steal­ing $320,000 from him.

That same year, an Auck­land man with name sup­pres­sion was jailed for two years af­ter si­phon­ing more than $100,000 from his mother, who had de­men­tia.

Age Con­cern says pen­sion­ers be­ing fleeced of their sav­ings is one of their most com­mon com­plaints.

Bank records showed Al­leyne had blown the money on her life­style, and the TAB, said Mike.

In one email, Al­leyne ad­mit­ted she had spent the lot, prompt­ing Green­halgh to in­sist she re­lin­quish power of at­tor­ney.

When Green­halgh opened his fa­ther’s ac­counts all that was left was $16,000 in Bonus Bonds – enough to pay for a fu­neral.

One ac­count was over­drawn by hundreds and an­other had just $16 left.

The Green­hal­ghs were so dis­gusted by Al­leyne’s de­ceit they opted to have a sep­a­rate fu­neral for Ron.

Sit­ting in his Ka­iaua home, Green­halgh has ring­binders con­tain­ing pages and pages of bank state­ments show­ing his sis­ter’s spend­ing.

Af­ter print­ing them all off he bought a high­lighter pen, aim­ing to mark ev­ery sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tion. But there were too many.

Green­halgh chokes up when speak­ing about his sis­ter’s of­fend­ing and wife Jenny leaves the room in a flood of tears, de­scrib­ing the rest home giv­ing them Ron’s be­long­ings.

The only clothes he had were do­na­tions, from res­i­dents who had died.

‘‘It’s not about the money. It’s a huge be­trayal,’’ Green­halgh says.

Even the police said they couldn’t do any­thing, de­spite an email from Al­leyne with her ad­mis­sions.

‘‘You get an email like that, say­ing ‘I’m spend­ing his money like it’s go­ing out of fash­ion’, and you want some­thing done now. Put a freeze on the ac­counts,’’ Green­halgh says.

Police said they needed ev­i­dence a crime had been com­mit­ted be­fore they could act.

Carolyn Al­leyne said she had paid the court $120,000 in repa­ra­tion which she ex­pected would be given to Mike.

She re­fused to con­firm if her to­tal spend­ing had been $250,000: ‘‘There’s no proof’’.

When asked if she was re­morse­ful, she replied: ‘‘Of course, what do you think?’’

She de­clined to com­ment on what she spent the money on, and rub­bished the idea her fa­ther had only sec­ond-hand clothes when he died.

‘‘I re­ally don’t want to dis­cuss it with any­body else. I’ve dis­cussed it with the lawyer, and that’s as much as I want to dis­cuss.’’.

Age Con­cern chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephanie Clare said about 50 per cent of re­ported el­derly abuse was fi­nan­cial and a lot in­volved power of at­tor­ney.

‘‘They think they’ve got the right to ac­cess the ac­counts, which is not what it’s all about,’’ she said.

‘‘There’s this so­ci­etal lack of re­spect for el­derly peo­ple.’’

BE­VAN READ / FAIR­FAX NZ

Carolyn Diane Al­leyne will be sen­tenced on Tues­day for the ‘‘huge be­trayal’’ of her ail­ing fa­ther.

BE­VAN READ / FAIR­FAX NZ

Mike Green­halgh chokes up when he thinks of his sis­ter’s be­hav­iour to­wards their fa­ther.

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