Carer jailed for stealing £30,000 from elderly man's bank account in Manchester

Marcel Brown was robbed of £30,000 by a carer he "treated like a daughter". Credit: MEN media

The family of an elderly man who had £30,000 stolen by a carer he "treated like a daughter" said he "gave up living" after her crimes were revealed.Michelle Summerhill, from Wythenshawe, in Manchester, was secretly withdrawing cash from Marcel Brown's bank accounts during her time as his carer.One account had a balance of just four pence after the 55-year-old had raided it.Summerhill even posed as Mr Brown's daughter to cash in his £20,000 premium bonds, despite being left £10,000 in his will after he died, such was the regard he had for her.Efforts were made to change his will after her deception was uncovered, but it was too late and she received the sum.

Mr Brown's stepson Michael Deasey and wife Carmel after the hearing. Credit: MEN Media

Mr Brown, who was originally born in France and lived alone in Wythenshawe, did not have children of his own but he treated Summerhill like his own daughter.

Her betrayal left him devastated and embarrassed, his family say.

"He gave up living," Mr Brown's stepson Michael Deasey said, after Summerhill was jailed for 10 months for theft."He died within 12 months. He just couldn't believe what she had done, after what he had done for her."She said that her obsessive compulsive disorder was linked to her crimes, and that she could not stop spending, but a report on her mental health proved her claims wrong.Judge Nicholas Dean QC told Summerhill: "Your mental health difficulties, which I accept exist, were not stopping you from your continued course of theft."Your theft from him was a betrayal of the trust, and a betrayal of the friendship, indeed rather more than that in some ways, the love that Mr Brown had shown to you."

Manchester Crown Court Credit: PA images

Manchester Crown Court heard that Summerhill started working as a carer for Mr Brown in 2012.

She started on £50-60 a week but was later given £100 a week when he needed further help after suffering a stroke.Summerhill would take Mr Brown out, help with cleaning, do his shopping and complete other errands.

Mr Deasey visited his stepfather one day, who appeared unsettled. "He was really good with his bank statements," Mr Deasey said.

"One day when I went, you could see he was reading his bank statements but he was a bit upset."He discovered that there had been regular cash withdrawals from his stepfather's accounts over a three year period."He had four pence left in one bank account, she had emptied the lot," Mr Deasey said.It was also revealed that Summerhill had posed as Mr Brown's daughter to cash in £20,000 of premium bonds, which were transferred to his bank account.

Mr Brown was left with four pence in his bank account. Credit: PA images

Summerhill eventually pleaded guilty to theft and has now been sentenced to 10 months in prison, which she will only serve half of.Mr Deasey said: "Five months isn't enough really for what she has done."Defending, Milena Bennett said there was a 'link' between Summerhill's compulsive spending and her obsessive compulsive disorder, which was diagnosed in 2018."It is not an excuse of why she did it, but it would explain," she said.

But Judge Dean said the case was a "serious breach of trust" and sent her to prison.

"Mr Brown was very much affected by your betrayal of him."After the hearing, Mr Deasey's wife Carmel said: "We had full trust in her, we treated her like family really. We couldn't believe it, it was like a bad dream. We kept thinking it can't be true."Mr Deasey added: "He really did trust her like his own daughter, we all trusted her."