Nottingham cancer nurse stole thousands from dementia-suffering 'father figure'

-Credit: (Image: Reach Plc)
-Credit: (Image: Reach Plc)

A Nottingham oncology nurse stole thousands of pounds from his dementia-suffering “father figure”. Nottingham Crown Court heard how Philip Whiles took the victim’s bank cards and used them on more than 120 occasions to withdraw large amounts of cash from his accounts.

The 60-year-old, from the city centre and who has never been in trouble with the law before, used some of the money to pay for the upkeep of the man’s property but felt “rankled” as he believed the victim’s actual family were not helping him. Handing him a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years, Recorder Michael Stephens said: “This is a sad fall from grace for you. You were well-educated and held in esteem by your colleagues.

“But this was deliberate and took place over a long period of time (and ) had this not been stopped you would have continued to take money out of those accounts. There were 62 cash withdrawals between December 4, 2018 and December 28, 2019 (from one account) totalling £15,440 and 65 cash withdrawals between December 13, 2018 and February 19, 2020 (from a second account) totalling £15,520.

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“By your guilty plea, you have accepted about £17,000. There is a background to these matters and it is right it is explained to the court. Following the death of your father, your mother was supported by (the victim) who became something like a father figure to you.

“She died of dementia and ironically (the victim) developed the disease and you were well-equipped to support him being a specialist nurse. It rankled you that you had a close relationship while his own family were disinterested as you saw it.

“The condition of his property was not kept up and I appreciated some of the money (you stole) was for his property. On February 20, 2020, you went to bank and tried to withdraw £2,000 but the staff were alive to your deception and the police were called.”

Ayesha Smart, prosecuting, said Whiles, of Manvers Street, was acting as carer for the victim and on February 20, 2020, he entered the Virgin Money Bank in Nottingham with the man’s bank card and driving licence and attempted to withdraw £2,000. She said the police were called by staff who were suspicious as to the transaction and an investigation was launched.

The prosecutor said: “It was discovered that between November 25, 2018 and February 20, 2020. The defendant systematically appropriated around £17,000. We say he appears to have targeted his victim based on his vulnerability.”

Whiles pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud - one from the victim’s Santander account and the other from his Virgin Money account. He has no previous convictions of any kind.

Chris Jenkins, mitigating, said his client developed a spinal condition at the age of 11 and now lives “fiercely and independently” despite his physical limitations. He said: “He has spoken particularly of the promise he made to his mother before she died that he would look after the victim in her absence.

“That he has let her down is a burden he will have to carry forward with him. He has spent his whole career working as an oncology nurse on the front line performing physically and emotionally difficult work and that is inevitably going to be over and he knows he’s the sole architect of his downfall.”

As part of the suspended sentence order, the judge also ordered the defendant to pay £9,000 compensation, to attend six rehabilitation sessions and to take part in a nine-month mental health treatment requirement.