Cumbria

'Wicked' will fraud doctor Zholia Alemi jailed

Zholia Alemi Image copyright Cumbria Police
Image caption Zholia Alemi was found guilty of four theft and fraud charges after a week-long trial

A "wicked" doctor who faked an elderly patient's will to get her £1.3m estate has been jailed for five years.

Consultant psychiatrist Zholia Alemi was found guilty of four fraud and theft charges after a week-long trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

Jurors heard Alemi met Gillian Belham, now aged 87, at a dementia clinic in Workington in February 2016.

Within four months she had redrafted Mrs Belham's will and fraudulently applied for power of attorney.

'Cruel criminality'

Alemi, of Scaw Road, High Harrington, also stole bank cards and tricked two women into providing signatures they thought would be used for another purpose.

Jurors heard childless Mrs Belham's extended family and a raft of charities were "entirely written out" of the bogus will.

Instead, Alemi stood to inherit a Keswick bungalow which Mrs Belham owned and £300,000.

Also, the proceeds of Mrs Belham's main home near Cockermouth were to be held in trust for the benefit of Alemi's grandchildren.

When asked by police whether the doctor had assisted with her financial affairs, Mrs Belham told an officer: "I think she just helped herself."

Judge James Adkin said Alemi's offending was "wicked", adding: "This was despicable, cruel criminality motivated by pure greed and you must be severely punished for it."

Speaking after the sentencing, DC Louise Carter said Alemi "sought to take advantage" of a vulnerable person.

She said: "(Alemi's) actions are all the more abhorrent as she met the victim in her capacity as a medical professional and should have been helping her.

"Instead she sought to befriend the elderly woman and quickly made plans to commit theft and fraud."

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