A “lovely” and “smiling” 102-year-old woman who was “full of life” was robbed of her life savings when the carer she trusted betrayed her.
The “dishonest and greedy” carer of beloved Edith Negus has been found guilty of stealing £289,688 and writing herself into her will.
Julie Sayles, 59, of Sewerby Road, was sentenced to nine years behind bars after she was found guilty by a jury in less than two hours after a six-day trial. Now, Ms Negus family have spoken of their anguish and paid tribute to Edith’s caring nature.
Speaking on the steps of the court Ann Ruthven, Edith Negus’s great niece, fought back tears as she said: “Edith was a beautiful, kind woman, who had many friends and family.
“Edith would have been horrified with anything like this. This is not how we think she should be remembered. She should be remembered for the long and full life she led and her wonderful smile.”
Born the daughter of a Methodist lay preacher, Ms Negus met her husband, Jack in Lyons bar, London, while working there during the war. The couple were rescued from below rubble in after a German bombing raid. The couple married but had no children. Ms Negus was close to her family and adored her nieces.
The pair ran a guest house together before Jack became a removal man.
Ms Negus had played the piano in two Bridlington churches and could be seen riding her bike aged 98 around Bridlington.
She was cared for by her niece Kathleen and husband Jack, who did repairs, gardening and decorating visiting as often as they could.
Her great niece Barbara Suter as: “The sweetest lady I ever met. She never had a bad word about anyone. She never swore. She was lovely. She called us darling and sweethearts.”
Ms Negus’s family believe she would have been mortified if she were here today. They want to warn others to with elderly friends and relatives to make sure they are being cared for correctly.
The family are planning a “proper” memorial for Edith so she can be remembered properly by those who loved her. Ms Ruthven added: “All we would ask is that people remember Edith Negus as she was: caring, smiling full of life and always calling you darling.”
What happened in court?
Former Bridlington Friends of the Elderly founder Julie Sayles, 59, has been jailed for nine years for stealing £289,688 from a 102-year-old woman.
She secretly opened a joint bank account with Edith Negus and spent her life savings on two houses.
She bought properties in Trowbridge, Wiltshire and Prospect Mount, Scarborough, and even suggested buying a villa in Spain.
The dishonest carer wrote herself in to the will of vulnerable Ms Negus when her health began to deteriorate after her 101st birthday.
Ms Negus, who had no children, lived among mouse droppings in a dirty house and wore second-hand clothes.
It took the jury of nine men and three women at Hull Crown Court less than two hours to find Mrs Sayles guilty of five counts of fraud, two of concealing or converting criminal property, and one of making an article for use in fraud, after a six-day trial.
Sayles lied to a solicitor claiming all the relatives in Ms Negus’s 1984 will had died.
When the solicitor said Ms Negus lacked mental capacity to make a new will, Sayles asked two friends in their 70s who trusted her word to counter sign it.
When Ms Negus died on October 5 2014, relatives found the family photographs, fur coats, two Staffordshire pot dogs and £289,688 from her bank account were gone.
Sayles organised Ms Negus’ funeral against the will of the family, reserving no seat for them on the front row, booking too small a church and making little mention of her life in the service.
Crown barrister Robert Stevenson said Ms Negus loved her family.
“It is beyond belief that she would want to write her family out of her will,” said Mr Stevenson.
“She (Sayles) was greedy and dishonest to take advantage of Edith for her own gain – and considerable advantage at that.”
Sayles, of Sewerby Road, told the jury she loved Edith, shared the same faith, and had torn up cheques before accepting the money.
She said: “I wasn’t getting paid to look after Edith. I think it went beyond that. The donation was in relation to our friendship.”
Ms Negus was born on December 20, 1911, anddied two-months from her 103rd birthday.
Recorder Anthony Kelbrick said: “She lived through the reign of three kings and a queen. She lived through two World Wars. She survived two bombings in London. When she was born horses and carriages were still using our streets. Televisions had not been invented. Computers were a thing of the future. There was no welfare state. It was a different world and produced different people.”
He said: “You took advantage of her frailty time and time again. For a merciless fraudster like you the can be only one sentence. Prison.
Sayles welled up with tears as she was taken to cells.
Defence barrister Peter Bryne asked to keep the sentence as short as possible: “She is of statutory good character and matters 20 years ago are unrelated.”
He said she was in ill-health but accepted there would be a custodial sentence of some length.
DS Matt Baldwin of Humberside Police, said: “This lady placed her trust and confidence in Julie Sayles and she was betrayed.
“Her life savings were taken from her. Her family were deprived of having the funeral they wanted.”
The charity was a local organisation and not connected to the national charity Friends of the Elderly.