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Solicitor jailed for two years is out after nine months

Swindon Crown CourtSwindon Crown CourtA solicitor who was jailed for two years in February for plundering his elderly mother's savings is already out of jail.

Nicholas Cockcroft appeared before a judge at Swindon Crown Court for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing as the authorities try to claw back what he took.

But after almost chopping in half his benefit from crime from £140,000 to £80,000 the court heard the once high flying commercial lawyer had less than £1,000 to his name.

And the 59-year-old was told he would have to serve a one month jail sentence if he didn't hand over just £964 by the end of January.

However should he come into money in the future it will be open to the authorities to pursue him for the outstanding £79,036.

Matthew Scott, for the Crown, said while on the face of it, it appeared he took about £140,000 it is now accepted some was 'legitimately spent on Mrs Cockcroft'.

He said "£25,000 went on nursing fees, £26,000 odd either in giving gifts to a relation, and gifts of £15,000 to Mr Cockcroft: after evidence at trial we accept she would have liked to have given, so we say the benefit is £80,000."

Cockcroft, of Crofton, near Marlborough, tried to appeal against the jail term but his request was thrown out in May.

At that hearing the court was told his mother late Joan, who was 87 at the time of his offending, was disabled and believed to be suffering from dementia

Cockcroft placed her in a care home for respite care in the summer of 2010, but she ended up staying there.

Her property was being sold to fund the costs of her care and the defendant had lasting power of attorney over her finances.

Even after the house was sold, yielding £182,500, an outstanding sum of £50,000 was owed to the care home.

Cockroft said he had invested the money in business ventures and he was waiting for a return which would allow him to pay the bill.

When arrested, he said that, when his mother was 'lucid', she had agreed that he could use the funds from the house sale and he insisted he would then repay her.

He had pleaded not guilty to a charge of fraud but following a week long trial a jury took just 45 minutes to convict him.

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  • Marlborough-2013-04-18 St Peters
  • Town-Hall-2011-05-03 08-
  • IMG 8472
  • Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08-----07
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