Kay Smith jailed for defrauding widow Merle Morgan

Kay Smith Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Kay Smith was given a 15-month prison sentence

A woman accused of stealing almost £12,000 from an elderly widow before her death has been jailed.

Kay Smith treated her 79-year-old friend Merle Morgan as an "easy source of money", Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court was told.

The 54-year-old from Cilfynydd, near Pontypridd, was granted access to the bank account belonging to Mrs Morgan, the sister of former world champion darts player Leighton Rees.

Smith was jailed for 15 months.

When Mrs Morgan's husband died, she turned to Smith for help with finances and gave her "third party authority" over her bank account.

Mrs Morgan's daughter Kimberly Jones said it meant Smith could withdraw cash and carry out transactions on behalf of Mrs Morgan, who had mobility and health problems.

But she withdrew thousands during the time leading up to Mrs Morgan's death.

"It's hard to believe someone could be so callous," Ms Jones told BBC Wales.

Image caption Kimberly Jones says she was disappointed with the length of the sentence

"There are no words to describe what a despicable person I think she is... It was pure greed, it was too much temptation to know that my mother, this elderly lady had money.

"It was my mother's life savings and the temptation was too much for Kay Smith."

Smith, who the court heard has a gambling problem, appeared by video link and sobbed throughout the hearing.

Judge Richard Twomlow, sentencing her, said: "The victim was a vulnerable elderly lady and entrusted you as a close friend to look after her bank account. You went on to withdraw large amounts, even £2,000 when the victim was in hospital.

"You have a gambling problem, which you denied, but I believe it was this and greed that were responsible for these crimes. This was a flagrant breach of trust."

Speaking outside court, Ms Jones added she was disappointed with the length of the sentence.

Image copyright Robert Melen
Image caption Kay Smith withdrew thousands in the time leading up to Merle Morgan's death

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