Stepson stole £30k as his stepdad had leg operation
A STEPSON stole £30,000 of his stepfather's money, while he was in hospital recovering from having his legs amputated.
Craig Osmond walked free from court despite admitting helping himself to eight months of pension payments and taking cash from his 76-year-old widowed stepfather.
Leslie Strawbridge had been admitted to hospital in June 2011, weeks after the death of his wife, Marie Sharman in May.
Mr Strawbridge was suffering from diabetes and had one leg fully removed and another partially during his eight-month stay in hospital.
Three weeks after he was admitted, Osmond, aged 51, had gone to Mr Strawbridge's home and collected a blank debit card which had been sent by his bank.
Osmond, of Prince of Wales Road, Swansea, signed the card and began making withdrawals "as if it was his own," prosecution barrister Ian Ibrahim told Swansea Crown Court.
In total he took £25,663 from Mr Strawbridge's bank account and £4,631 of pension payments.
In November 2011 he repaid £20,000 into the account but the rest remains outstanding.
The offences came to light when Mr Strawbridge was ready to be discharged and social services interviewed him about his finances hoping to find him a suitable nursing home.
They then found thousands missing.
Mr Ibrahim said Osmond had been present when arrangements for Mr Strawbridge's will were being discussed and Osmond "reacted badly" when he was told he was not be included.
Osmond originally said he had used the money to pay his stepfather's bills, but the court heard these amounted to £35.
He later admitted making an article for use in fraud, fraud and theft.
Paul Hobson, for Osmond, said he had been withdrawing the money while waiting for a £40,000 compensation payment.
He said £5,000 remained in his bank accounts, ready to repay, and he could sell two motorcycles he had bought.
Judge Merfyn Hughes said it was a "despicable offence" which had been pre-planned and occurred on a number of different occasions.
But he said because of his guilty plea, single previous conviction and the fact he had repaid £20,000 he could suspend the 18 month jail term for two years.
He was also told to complete 240 hours of unpaid work.