Callous carer befriended elderly widow then stole more than £126,000

A callous carer who befriended an elderly widow then stole more than £126,000 from her has been jailed for three years.

Tanya Benjamin, 60, befriended 85-year-old multi-millionaire Margaret Sail by going to church and reading the Bible to her.

The relationship led to her being paid £300 a week by the pensioner to carry out household chores at her home in Beeston, Nottingham.

But when Mrs Sail -who had lived alone in since her husband died in 1995 after making a £4 million fortune in the furniture business – went into a care home for two weeks of respite care, Benjamin stole two cheques to write six-figure fees out to herself.

A family friend of Mrs Sail who helped with her finances noticed that four cheques had been removed and a few months later realised that a cheque for £126,000 had been cashed in.

Jailed – Tanya Benjamin was handed a three-year jail sentence at Nottingham Crown Court (Picture: PA)

After checking with the bank he found that the huge sum, plus another cheque for £160, had both been paid to Benjamin, who later claimed they were a gift to pay off her mortgage from the “mother I never had”.

Police managed to recover £54,280 from Benjamin’s bank account but £70,000 had already been withdrawn. They eventually found a box containing £63,000 in her home, but £8,880 remained unaccounted for.


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Benjamin, of Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, denied theft and two counts of fraud by false representation but was found guilty after a four-day trial at Nottingham Crown Court in October. On Friday she was jailed for three years at the same court.

The trial heard how Benjamin had been working at Mrs Sail’s home around two to three days a weeks since June last year as the OAP had mobility issues.

The divorced mother-of-three, who had been a carer since arriving in Britain from Malta when she was aged 19, said that two cheques had been given to her, leaving her “speechless”.

But a handwriting expert found they had not been signed by Mrs Sail.

Speaking after the case Detective Constable Marc Lancaster, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We had never heard anything like this case. The extent that Benjamin went to gain the elderly victim’s trust and the amount she stole was completely cold and callous.

“We accept that some people may face financial difficulty and may have their problems but it is no excuse to steal from a vulnerable person.”