A female solicitor has been jailed after she stole nearly £50,000 from an elderly nursing home resident whose finances she had been entrusted with - then blamed the “folly of love” for her crimes.

Alison Griffiths, 55, was in charge of 94-year-old Betty Gleed's finances, but after starting a new relationship “lost her mind” and started pocketing the dementia patient's money to spend on herself, including holidays.

A court heard the lawyer boasted a “moderate salary”, but in a “tale of destruction” after becoming romantically involved with her new partner, Griffiths became a “different person”.

After the probate and wills specialist “fell on her sword” and came clean, an investigation also found she had been stealing money from her own father, now dead.

On Friday, February 2, Griffiths - who said she was “very sorry” for her actions - was jailed for two years after a judge told her that in stealing the £85,000 she “abused confidence placed in you as a solicitor and as a daughter”.

James Kellam, prosecuting, told the court Griffiths worked as a solicitor for Optimum Professional Services in Swindon, Wilts.

Salisbury Crown Court heard that she was appointed to manage the finances of Ms Gleed in June 2018.

Ms Gleed was a resident at the Wemyss Lodge nursing home in Swindon and the solicitor was given the job as she had previously managed another patient's finances.

It was heard that over a three-year period from 2018 to 2021, Griffiths stole £49,482.52 from the elderly pensioner - who had no family and was suffering from dementia at the time.

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Mr Kellam told the court that the 'matter came to light' when Griffiths refused to sign a form when leaving her employers that stated she had carried out no wrongdoings.

He said: "She told the negotiator that she could not sign that because she had been taking money from a client."

After she told her bosses of her thefts, the police were called.

Mr Kellam added: "She admitted the offence already in conversation and admitted it again when contacted by the police."

Following the admission, police found the solicitor had also been stealing money from her father, Alan Griffiths, over whom she also had power of attorney.

During this period, she stole around £35,000 from Mr Griffiths and the money was spent “in ways similar to the previous offence”.

She stole the money from her 80-year-old father - who died in May 2023 - between May 2020 and September 2021.

Mary Aspinall-Miles, defending, told the court the offences arose in an “unusual set of circumstances” and Griffiths eventually “fell on her sword”.

Ms Aspinall-Miles said: "She met her somebody and effectively the folly of love caused her to become lost in that stage in her life.

"It seemed to have made her lose her mind to the effect that she became a different person to the person she was before – and not in a good way."

Griffiths pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position. Ms Aspinall-Miles said she “will almost certainly be struck off” from her job as a solicitor.

Griffiths was sentenced to a 24 month custodial sentence.