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  1. ITV Report

Psychiatrist accused of trying to steal elderly woman's £1.3million estate

Photo: ITV Border

A consultant psychiatrist accused of trying to steal the £1.3million estate of an elderly widow, has gone on trial.

Zholia Alemi is said to have met "vulnerable" 87-year-old Gillian Belham for the "first time" in February 2016, to give her expert opinion about whether the pensioner was well enough to live at home and look after herself.

It is alleged that within just three months, Alemi had "re-drafted" Mrs Belham's will so she was appointed executor of her estate and the main beneficiary under the document.

The changes, it is said, meant 55-year-old Alemi stood to inherit one of Mrs Belham's homes - a Keswick cottage - and was to benefit under a trust in the sum of £300,000.

It is further alleged that proceeds from the sale of pensioner's main residence, near Cockermouth, were to be "held in trust for the benefit of the defendant's grandchildren".

It's alleged that Alemi had "swept" into Mrs Belham's life during early 2016 by "pretending to be her friend, exploiting this elderly lady's trusting nature in order to delve into her financial affairs".

Alemi, of Scaw Road, High Harrington, denies two charges which allege the attempted possession of a lasting power of attorney for use in fraud.

She also denies the alleged making of a lasting will and testament for use in fraud; and denies a further two counts alleging the theft of bank cards, banking documentation and paperwork, and also 33 watches - all belonging to Mrs Belham, a former Bank of England employee.

The trial, which is expected to last up to two weeks, continues.