Greed of £4m ca

21 years in jail for owner who lived the high life by fleec­ing rich res­i­dents

Daily Mail - - Comment - By James Tozer and Liz Hull

A CARE home owner who conned his el­derly res­i­dents out of more than £4mil­lion was jailed for 21 years yesterday

David Bar­ton was la­belled a ‘de­spi­ca­bly greedy man’ by a judge hav­ing amassed his for­tune by prey­ing on vul­ner­a­ble mil­lion­aire pen­sion­ers for al­most two decades.

Not only did Bar­ton, 64, charge them thou­sands of pounds a week to stay at his home, but he cyn­i­cally groomed the of­ten child­less res­i­dents into hand­ing over their vast wealth. The de­vi­ous busi­ness­man poi­soned them against their friends and rel­a­tives, be­fore con­vinc­ing them that only he could be trusted with their af­fairs.

He per­suaded them to give him power of at­tor­ney and ap­pointed him­self ex­ecu­tor of their wills – drain­ing their bank ac­counts and rak­ing in a stag­ger­ing £4mil­lion from six res­i­dents.

Bar­ton’s scam saw him amass a per­sonal prop­erty em­pire of 19 homes, plus a glit­ter­ing car col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing four Fer­raris and three Rolls-Royces – one with the pres­ti­gious num­ber-plate 3RR.

One of Bar­ton’s favoured ruses in­volved sell­ing con­vert­ible Rolls-Royces, worth around £150,000, to res­i­dents for as much as £500,000.

He would of­fer the frail pen­sion­ers oc­ca­sional rides in the cars but still re­tained them for his own use. Bar­ton would then have them be­queathed back to him in the res­i­dents’ wills. He got away with his con for nearly 20 years and it was only when he made an ‘au­da­cious’ le­gal claim on the £10mil­lion

‘All you cared about was your­self’

for­tune of a cou­ple that sus­pi­cions were aroused and po­lice called in.

Yesterday, af­ter one of the long­est jury tri­als in English le­gal his­tory last­ing a year and three days, Bar­ton was fi­nally ex­posed as a fraud­ster and jailed for 21 years at Liver­pool Crown Court. Judge Steven Everett told him: ‘You cut these peo­ple from their friends, fam­ily and long- term pro­fes­sional ad­vis­ers by a mix­ture of flat­tery, per­sua­sion and veiled threats.

‘You are a de­spi­ca­bly greedy man, a hyp­ocrite who claimed he was car­ing for these res­i­dents but all you cared about was your­self.

‘You were pre­pared to tram­ple over any­one who would op­pose you. You treated your care home like a mini king­dom, de­mand­ing re­spect that you had not earned.

‘This is one of the most se­ri­ous cases of abuse of trust that has ever come be­fore a court in this coun­try. The de­mo­graphic of our so­ci­ety is chang­ing, peo­ple are now are liv­ing longer and are en­ti­tled to re­spect, dig­nity and to be treated hon­estly.’

The court heard Bar­ton – whose name was orig­i­nally Ra­ma­murthie Dasaratha Naidoo – moved to the UK from South Africa with his fam­ily in the 1960s.

A le­gal bat­tle to take over his par­ents’ nurs­ing home busi­ness in the sea­side re­sort of South­port, Mersey­side, in the 1990s left him £ 2mil­lion in debt, ap­par­ently spark­ing what his trial heard was his ‘ex­tra­or­di­nary greed’.

Re­nam­ing the home Bar­ton Park, it of­fered the finest lev­els of care

and at­tracted rich res­i­dents. Among the first was Pa­tri­cia An­der­son Scott, widow of a for­mer chair­man of Ever­ton whose fam­ily bakery busi­ness was one of the re­gion’s ma­jor em­ploy­ers.

Ben­jamin My­ers, QC, pros­e­cut­ing, said Bar­ton had a snake-like abil­ity ‘to worm his way into the hearts and fi­nances of wealthy res­i­dents and to prey upon their frail­ties and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties’.

He even con­sulted psy­chics for tips on per­suad­ing his wealthy tar­gets to be­come de­pen­dent on him. ‘He led them to be­lieve that he was the only per­son who cared for them,’ Mr My­ers said.

‘They be­lieved he was their saviour.’ In May, Bar­ton, of South­port, was found guilty fraud, theft, as well as false ac­count­ing and trans­fer­ring crim­i­nal prop­erty.

The gen­eral man­ager at the home, Rose­mary Booth, 69, also from South­port, was con­victed of two counts of con­spir­acy to de­fraud and jailed for six years.

Bar­ton’s 55-year-old wife Lucinda is await­ing trial on charges of con­spir­acy to steal, false ac­count­ing, con­spir­acy to de­fraud, theft and money laun­der­ing. The cou­ple’s sons, for­mer Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor David Richard Bar­ton, 28, and David Charles Bar­ton, 25, face a sep­a­rate trial for money laun­der­ing. All three deny the charges.

Hyp­ocrite: David Bar­ton, 64

Lav­ish: The fleet of ex­pen­sive cars amassed by Bar­ton, in­clud­ing a red Rolls-Royce

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