A CARER who fleeced her sick mother out of more than £200,000 to feed her gambling addiction has been locked up for 15 months.

‘Foolish’ Gillian Bates splurged the cash on online gambling sites Jackpot Joy and Foxy Bingo while her late mother Marjorie Lee battled Alzheimer’s disease in a care home.

The 69-year-old trembled in the dock, sobbing as Deputy Circuit Judge John Price criticised her for abusing her position after being given a power of attorney.

Sentencing at Oxford Crown Court yesterday, he said: “[Your mother] was vulnerable, she did not know what was going on and you took her money.”

Mrs Lee was moved to an Abingdon care home, where she was expected to live for five years, after receiving her diagnosis aged 86 in January 2014, prosecutor Cathy Olliver said.

Her three children decided her house would be sold to pay the approximate £50,000 annual care home costs, with Bates given the power of attorney and selling the property for £243,000.

The fraudster, of Malford Road, Oxford, began making a number of transactions from her mother’s account to her own, transferring a total of £277,100.

Bates decided to move her mother from the care home to her own house, where she planned to look after the pensioner, but Mrs Lee was hospitalised and died there in 2015.

The prosecutor claimed the move was ‘because money was running out’, telling the court Mrs Lee was distressed by news she would be leaving the care home.

Bates, who admitted fraud between April 2014 and October 2015, revealed to interviewing officers she failed to tell Lloyds Bank her mother had died.

The court heard £70,671 was transferred back to Mrs Lee’s account but the care home is still owed £10,000.

Nawaz Khan, defending, said Bates was ‘genuinely remorseful’ and felt ashamed but wanted to apologise to her siblings for the suffering she had caused.

Bates, who has been working as a carer for the elderly for the past 15 years, sat biting her nails in the dock as Mr Khan revealed her family were unaware of her addiction.

The situation ‘spiralled out of control’ when the fraudster, who has been married for 23 years, began losing money, he claimed.

Mr Khan said: “She simply failed to deal with the issues, to get help or to admit what was going on at the time.

“She does feel relieved that matters did come to light, albeit, she is in a perilous position.”

Mr Khan insisted Bates did not choose to receive the lasting power of attorney but a family decision was made as she had already been looking after Mrs Lee’s affairs.

He went on to say Bates, who suffered a heart attack in April and has depression, put her house on the market for £300,000 prior to her arrest.

She had been attending gamblers anonymous but stopped sessions in April after overcoming her addiction, the court heard.

Mr Khan added: “She has become very traumatised since the criminal proceedings began.

“She is very low in her mood, she feels isolated, very distressed by the situation. She has spoken about ending her life on occasion.”