Will writer Keith Webber 'stole £300,000 from clients'

A will writer stole more than £300,000 from clients over three years and persuaded them to buy him "very generous gifts", a court has been told.

Keith Webber siphoned the money while acting as clients' executor and power of attorney, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Rupert Lowe said vulnerable clients had been persuaded to buy Mr Webber, of Chard, Somerset, a Jaguar car and pay for his wife's funeral.

The 67-year-old denies three charges of fraud, one of forgery and one of theft.

Mr Lowe said told the jury "you couldn't want for a more obvious case of abusing your position as will writer, attorney and executor".

He said that while Mr Webber's clients were alive, he persuaded or deceived them into paying him large sums of money and withdrawing cash from their bank accounts.

'Altered the will'

He said Mr Webber had had his clients, which included his wife's sister and her husband, sign assets over to him and failed to give them money that was due to them.

"After they died, the defendant would withdraw money from their accounts, receive and pocket funds and refunds owing to the deceased, inflate their funeral expenses and inflate his own fees and expenses," he said.

"In one case, he actually altered the will to make himself the main beneficiary instead of the charity to which the old lady believed she was giving her money."

He added that it was "simply not possible to calculate exactly how much money he stole from his clients, but it is more than £300,000".

Mr Lowe said Mr Webber, who was arrested on 10 August 2012, had insisted he always "acted reasonably and in the best interests of his clients".

The trial is expected to last for three weeks.

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