A man who posed as a dead neighbour in order to steal his savings has been sentenced to prison.
Dean Thompson was the 'unofficial carer' for his neighbour David Traylen for two decades before he passed away in 2017, aged 78.
The 54-year-old lorry driver from Hull then went on a two-year spending spree with his deceased friend's money.
After registering Traylen's death with Hull City Council, Thompson contacted First Direct bank impersonating the pensioner to ask for the £28,000 in his savings account to be transferred into his current account.
Thompson told the bank he was 'very ill and wanted to sort out his funds' before writing himself a cheque for £25,000.
A court heard how the driver used the cash for his family's day-to-day spending, withdrawing a further £6,367 using Traylen's debit card and accessing a further £30,000 of the man's uncashed bonds in October 2019.
However, in November of the same year, Traylen's sister who lived in New Zealand came to claim her brother's estate.
When a solicitor was hired in the UK to liquidate the property, Thompson's actions came to light, showing he'd taken a total of £61,356.25 from Traylen's accounts.
The offender initially told police that the money had been a gift from the man he'd cared for, but later admitted to the offences, which included five counts of fraud by false representation and one count of theft.
Charlotte Baines, mitigating, highlighted how Thompson had no previous convictions, adding: "He knows what he did was despicable and utterly regrets his actions.
"His intentions were good, he supported David Traylen when he was alive, David had no one to care for him when he was alive. The defendant had meaningful intentions.
"Thompson is someone with a strong work ethic, working for most of his adult life, he had a secure job at Stagecoach Transport. He has been trying to put together the funds to pay back what he took, he wants to put it right."
Judge Peter Kelson QC told Thompson: "I accept that you did previously support the victim before his demise.
"You described yourself as his unofficial carer, that is an underestimation of the support you provided him. However, after his death, you immediately transferred money to yourself by deceiving his bank.
"The aggravating features of this case are the abuse of trust and sophisticated nature of the offence in that it took significant planning. This surpasses the threshold for immediate custody."
As a result of these factors, the judge sentenced Thompson to two years in prison.
Words by: Daisy Phillipson