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  1. ITV Report

Psychiatrist jailed for faking wealthy widow's will

Photo: ITV Border

A doctor has been jailed for five years, after being found guilty of faking the will of a wealthy elderly widow just months after being asked to assess her.

Zholia Alemi was convicted unanimously of four fraud and theft charges today following a week-long trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

A jury heard how 55-year-old consultant psychiatrist Alemi "swept" into the life of frail and vulnerable Gillian Belham in February 2016 after being asked to rule on her wellbeing.

Alemi concluded no treatment was needed for the pensioner, who was discharged from an NHS service assisting those with dementia.

But within four months the doctor had redrafted the will of Mrs Belham, now aged 87, as she sought to get her hands on the former Bank of England employee's £1.3 million estate.

She fraudulently applied for powers of attorney to control Mrs Belham's medical and financial affairs, stole bank cards and also duped two Keswick women into providing signatures they thought would be used for another purpose.

Jurors heard childless Mrs Belham's extended family and a raft of charities were "entirely written out" of the bogus will.

Instead Alemi stood to inherit a Keswick bungalow which Mrs Belham owned, and was poised to rake in a further £300,000.

In addition, the proceeds of Mrs Belham's main home near Cockermouth were to be held in trust for the benefit of Alemi's grandchildren.

When later asked by police whether the doctor has assisted with her financial affairs, Mrs Belham told an officer: "I think she just helped herself."

Alemi, of Scaw Road, High Harrington, was jailed for five years by Judge James Adkin for what he called "wicked" offending.

Passing sentence, Judge Adkin told Alemi: "This was despicable, cruel criminality motivated by pure greed and you must be severely punished for it."