Adam Gray was 11 when his father tragically died in the 7/7 bombings of 2005. Adam was awarded £50,000 compensation for the loss of his father, to be held on trust until he reached his 18th birthday.
On reaching his 18th birthday, the monies were released and Adam then in turn entrusted the money to his mother, Louise Gray, until such time as he himself felt capable of dealing with the management of such a large sum.
Later, on asking for the money, he found to his horror that his mother had spent most of the money.
Although there was by then no formal Trust, the money being held on a Bare Trust, the breach of trust and theft of the money has resulted in Mrs Gray receiving a 30 month jail sentence.
On sentencing, Judge David Goodwin has stated:-
“The theft of £43,000 is one thing. The theft of £43,000 by a parent from a young adult’s Trust is quite another when that sum represented most – practically all – the compensation he received for his father’s tragic death.
The offence you have committed against your son, the trust you betrayed – a second hammer blow following the death of his father – is so serious, it can only be met with a custodial sentence.”
The position of a Trustee is never one to be taken lightly. The responsibility either in a formal trust structure or as a bare trustee such as Mrs Gray, are onerous and the laws protecting Trusts complex and strict.
In recent years the courts are handing down more custodial sentences for breaches of Trusts.
Under no circumstances should a Trustee or any person in a position of trust with someone else’s money use it for their own benefit.
If you have any concerns as a Trustee or indeed as the beneficiary of a trust, then please telephone Seatons on the following number:- 01536 276300.