'˜Pure greed' of carer who stole Â£100,000 from elderly man
Toni Chippendale – who previously hit the headlines after claiming her toyboy husband stole from her – admitted taking around £74,000 from trusting great-grandfather Geoffrey Cooke, as well as being overpaid £25,000 in care fees.
Mr Cooke died from kidney failure in October before he could see justice done.
Chippendale was also accused of stealing from Mr Cooke’s son John, 57, who had Down’s Syndrome, but the charge was ordered to lie on file by the judge. John died in March before Chippendle pleaded guilty.
John’s sister Cath, from Broadgate, Preston, said: “My dad worked hard all his life. But he died in a care home, penniless and homeless, because of her greed. We have been through hell.”
Cath, 54, said: “Dad was convinced he had a pot of money. When the offences came to light it really hurt him because he didn’t believe she was capable of this.
“It’s a very sad story. He lost everything he and mum worked for all those years.
“At first, he didn’t believe the police. It was only when she was arrested it started sinking in.
“He just went downhill from then and ended up in a care home.
“He died homeless and effectively penniless.”
In a bitter twist, just days after Chippendale made her first appearance before magistrates, the heartbroken pensioner passed away and his disabled son John died from a heart attack in March before she entered her pleas.
Father-of-three Geoffrey, a retired BAE printer, cared for himself and son John after the death of his wife Joan 20 years ago.
But after suffering a minor stroke the family enlisted help.
Daughter Cath, 54, said: “We felt he needed help with John initially.
“Social services did an assessment and he got funding from the Independent Living Fund to employ someone to come in and support John.
Chippendale had worked for the agency that came in, but later decided to work for herself, and Geoffrey, who trusted her “implicitly” kept her on.
Cath recalls: “He was besotted with Toni, he thought she was wonderful.”
She was paid to give John personal care and take him out on a weekend. After a while she would also accompany them on holiday.
But alarm bells started ringing when Geoffrey paid £5,000 to buy her car, an amount the family felt was excessive. She had also sold him a three-piece suite and various other items.
And their holidays were getting increasingly extravagant.
“John used to love going in these bars in Spain and having a dance with all the women,” Cath said.
“In the beginning it was not so bad but those holidays started getting more and more extravagant.
“It went from Cyprus to Jamaica then Barbados, not the sort of places Dad would like. He liked English bars and English food. In Barbados she would go off and leave them to it - while being paid for by their money. John did not like Barbados, he stayed in his room.”
While there, Chippendale fell in love with 29-year-old Danny Benn after meeting him while holidaying.
However, Toni later accused Danny of cheating and stealing from her and he was given his marching orders. He was deported after revelations he had overstayed his visa.
Cath said: “The worst thing of all was when she got married.
“My dad and John were invited to go. They got to the airport and found John’s passport, the kind of things she looked after, had run out.
“They had to come home in a taxi.
“John changed after that with her.
“He became mad with her and would lash out at her.”
The family’s concerns continued when Geoffrey suddenly decided he wanted to move home to a bungalow around the corner from Chippendale.
Cath says Chippendale was able to play on Geoffrey’s concerns for his son and didn’t believe his carer couldn’t be trusted.
She said: “We went to police saying we were concerned. Dad didn’t believe anything.
“Our whole lives suddenly revolved around this woman and what she was doing to the family.
“All Dad’s stuff got thrown in a skip by her, family heirlooms and ornaments.
“It’s difficult because when you know something’s not right and you’re not believed it’s really hard.”
Chippendale, 55, of Whitby Avenue, Ingol, admits theft and fraud totalling around £100,000.
She will be sentenced on June 24.