Greed of £4m ca
21 years in jail for owner who lived the high life by fleecing rich residents
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