Kathryn Walker, a British mother whose military son, Richard Walker, died on duty in Afghanistan in 2013, has been charged with wasting more than £450,000 left in her son’s will for someone else.
Kathryn, who had squandered the money on “extravagant” goods, was named executor of the will. According to Chronicle Live, she spent the money on automobiles, trailers, horses, private number plates, and paying off her personal obligations.
The deception was discovered after a relative of the intended benefactor overheard gossip about Kathryn becoming “minted” following the death of her son, Sapper Walker.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that after deductions, Sapper Walker’s estate amounted to £455,774. Walker received a check for that amount in 2014. When the intended beneficiary’s representative did not get statements concerning the money, she got concerned and attempted to contact Walker’s attorneys, who informed her they couldn’t help her.
Prosecutor Nick Lane said;
“Several years later she bumped into someone who passed on information that Kathryn Walker was supposed to be ‘minted’ since her son’s death. She had recently bought horses and stables.
“This concerned (the woman) because she understood from Mr Walker that his mum was not good with money. She had survived on benefits and had borrowed money from her son.”
The woman requested that lawyers investigate the money, and letters were sent to Kathryn, 56, requesting information, but no response was returned. She also refused to reply to a probate registry order asking her to give an inventory of the estate.
After the enforcement action was initiated in 2020, Kathryn called the woman’s attorneys and said that she had placed the cash in a caravan park, but that the business failed and she had lost them.
Police were notified, and investigations revealed that she had disbursed the funds within four months of receiving them. She transferred £137,000 to another account and spent £237,000 on caravans in Whitley Bay. She also removed over £30,000 in cash.
She also purchased private license plates, vehicles, spent £10,000 on groceries, and spent £800 on Sunderland Football Club. She subsequently sold the seven caravans she had purchased at a £160,000 loss.
Kathryn denied wasting the money when she was interviewed. She claimed to have spent £18,000 on a memorial garden at her home and to have paid off personal debts and rent arrears. She had also paid for a friend’s child’s medical treatment in another country.
“She accepted she knew the money was not hers to spend. She said she was sorry for her actions.”
The intended beneficiary’s representative said in a victim impact statement:
“She has totally breached her position of trust by using this money for her own benefit.
“To find answers I hired a private investigator and I also had to pay £6,000 in solicitors fees.”
Kathryn who pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of trust, was jailed for three years and four months. At her sentencing, Judge Julie Clemitson said;
“At the age of 56 years old without having been in court before, it’s a tragedy you appear here today in respect of such a serious offence.
“Some of it was spent in an altruistic fashion – you paid for medical treatment for a friend’s child. Some of it was spent on pure extravagance including a private number plate and horse box.
“You had spent the entirety of the inheritance and there’s now absolutely nothing left. This was a fraud which took place over a sustained period of time and it was a gross breach of trust. It is the loss of a life-changing sum of money.”