Teenager from Wakefield stole almost £10,000 from his cancer-suffering grandfather's funeral fund

A CANCER patient from Wakefield was left devastated after his teenage grandson stole almost £10,000 he and his wife had been saving up to pay for funeral costs, a court heard.

Thursday, 15th August 2019, 4:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th August 2019, 5:28 pm
Leeds Crown Court

Joshua Woodcock, 19, stole the money from a locked safe at his grandparents' home in Wakefield and spent the cash on cars and drugs, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Woodcock, of Bolus Lane, was jailed for 16-months after he admitted theft.

Woodcock's 63-year-old grandfather had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was saving money to pay for his and his wife's funerals, the court heard.

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One of the bundles of cash Woodcock stole on March 25 was marked 'funeral money."

A probation officer said Woodcock had been using cannabis and cocaine and had spent the money on cars and drugs.

Mitigating, Theresa Clark said Woodcock had been trusted with the access code for the safe, adding: "His grandparents are obviously devastated.

"He would like very much to apologise to his grandparents.

"His grandparents trusted him implicitly and he breached that trust. He would very much like to make it up to them in the fullness of time.

"I understand three cars in total were purchased. I have been advised by the family that police have crushed those cars."

Woodcock, who works as a labourer, has no previous convictions.

The court heard he had lived with his grandparents on and off for around a year when he stole the money.

Jailing Woodcock for 16 months, Judge Simon Phillips QC, said: "He (the grandfather) explains he has been given a diagnosis of prostate cancer and he has been saving for his funeral.

"He states your grandmother suffers from bipolar disorder."

Judge Phillips added: "This was in my judgement a deliberate targeting by you. You were aware that your grandfather had a cancer diagnosis and you were aware of the long standing bipolar difficulties of your grandmother.

"This was a high degree of trust that you breached. Effectively you robbed them of the means of security they had started for themselves to make arrangements for their ultimate deaths and they no longer have those funds to give themselves that sense of assurance."