Derby

Derbyshire pair bought 'extravagant' gifts with relative's cash

Two women spent more than £230,000 of their 94-year-old relative's money on designer handbags, cars and jewellery, it has emerged.

Janet Miller, 72, and Margaret Johnson, 61, from Derbyshire, took control of Gladys Meek's finances in 2010.

They were given the power to manage her financial affairs by the Court of Protection because she had dementia.

But now they have been ordered to pay back £200,000 to Mrs Meek's estate following her death in April.

The court, which handles cases relating to sick and vulnerable people, stripped them of their responsibility last year.

'Extravagant gifts'

In a written judgement, Judge David Hodge QC lifted an order preventing the women being named, which was put in place to protect Mrs Meek.

In 2013, the court heard details of how Mrs Miller, a niece of Mrs Meek's late husband Bert, spent £17,000 on an Omega watch, more than £10,000 on rings and more than £1,000 on two Mulberry handbags.

Mrs Johnson, a great niece, bought a Rolex watch worth £18,000, gave herself a £20,000 "cash gift" and bought her husband a £500 season ticket for Derby County.

The women also donated more than £50,000 of Mrs Meek's money to charity.

The judge said: "Mrs Miller and Mrs Johnson engaged in a course of conduct involving extravagant gifts, not only to charities, but also to themselves and members of their respective families."

The pair said they had made "gifts and donations" on behalf of Mrs Meek and her late daughter, Barbara, who died in 2010.

They claimed the money they had spent was "as per" the approval given to them.

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