THE family of a 96-year-old D-Day veteran who has had £30,000 stolen from his bank account have spoken of their “enormous anguish” that someone could have “so deeply betrayed” his trust.
Kenneth Allen’s family are speaking out now to warn others of so-called ‘elder fraud’, after discovering in October last year that £30,000 had been drained from his account since 2016 via a mixture of online transfers and ATM withdrawals.
The family of widower Mr Allen, who lives in Leonard Stanley and has dementia, have reported the offence to Gloucestershire Constabulary and officers are investigating.
His sons Derek and Nigel who live nearby, daughter Cheryl and son-in-law David Plimmer who live in Derbyshire, believe they know who stole the money from their father but, for legal reasons, the SNJ cannot report the identity of their suspect.
Daughter Cheryl said: “Typical of the wartime generation, dad has always been so careful with money. He and mum looked after their money so diligently that they could afford to buy their council house home when they were given the option to..
“We feel that the whole family has been conned and I don’t wish this on anyone, especially given that dad may need to pay for specialist care in the future.”
Son-in-law David added: “We implore other families to help guide elderly parents as to the best and safest options for safeguarding their finances, such as a Power of Attorney.”
“Let this be a warning to other families to be vigilant with their loved ones before it is too late,” he added.
Mr Allen, whose wife Vida died 17 years ago, has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and was always independent but, in 2016, he was diagnosed with dementia and his family decided to take control of his domestic and financial affairs.
As a result of this, the family were “absolutely bereft” to discover that all of their father’s financial papers were missing and that enormous sums of money had been disappearing on a regular basis from his bank account.
Despite all this, Mr Allen, whose dementia is quite severe, has been spared much of the upset due to his condition and maintains a happy and cheerful demeanour, and is a delight to behold as he regales visitors with wartime stories.
Stonehouse born-and-bred Mr Allen was just 17 when he travelled to Bristol to join the Royal Navy, which he served for seven years.
His service saw him escort merchant ships during the perilous Arctic Convoys before he took part, and survived, in the D-Day invasion of June 1944.
It is a service to King and country that Mr Allen, who has lived in the same Leonard Stanley home for 57 years, is proud of, having been awarded the Legion d’Honneur in 2016.
A spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said: “We confirm that there is an ongoing investigation into allegations of fraud that have been made against an individual. We cannot comment further at this time.”
Dr John Beer, chair of the charity Action on Elder Abuse, said: “The sad fact is that for some callous individuals, an older person with dementia can be viewed as a vulnerable target for financial abuse.
“Friends and family should therefore be watchful of any deliberate isolation of an older person, particularly where this results in a single caregiver having total control over their finances.
“Prevention is key here and families need to discuss these issues openly. Although none of us wants to think about developing dementia in later life, families may wish to consider setting up a power of attorney arrangement before an older person loses mental capacity, whereby there are multiple controllers. This can help to prevent abuse by a single individual.”
If you think your loved one has been the victim of financial fraud, then contact Action on Elder Abuse on 080 8808 8141.