Retired husband-and-wife officers found guilty of stealing £60,000 from mother, 86

A former police officer is facing the threat of jail for helping himself to £60,000 from his elderly mother’s bank account to fund a lavish spending spree with his wife.

Aug 21, 2017

A former police officer is facing the threat of jail for helping himself to £60,000 from his elderly mother’s bank account to fund a lavish spending spree with his wife. Ex-Central Police Scotland Sergeant Andrew Rough said claims of embezzlement against him and his wife Jean, also a retired police constable, were untrue. But Stirling Sheriff Court heard they drained the bank accounts of Gladys Rough over almost five years. They used the funds to pay the mortgage of an upmarket, new-build home and spent more on hunting, shooting and fishing supplies, and a new game gun. They also spent her cash on deposits on a summer house for their back garden and laser eye surgery for former firearms officer Rough, who used to guard ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher`s Defence Secretary, the late Lord George Younger. The theft began after Gladys Rough’s husband, Andrew senior, was taken to hospital with a stroke and she handed her son and daughter-in-law her bank cards to do her £30 weekly shop and to collect money to pay her gardener and cleaner. She also gave them power of attorney and handed over her bank statements to them unopened. The court was told there was no dispute the pair had then made “repeated” withdrawals and purchases, taking up to £12,000 a year, and finally running one account down to just 37p causing a direct debit to bounce and Gladys Rough’s phone to be cut off. Gladys Rough, now 86, who endured four-and-a-half days of lawyers’ questions over a video link, said she had told them they could also use her cards for themselves “if they were stuck”. But ex-Sgt Rough, who shot for Scotland and the British Police team and served his force for 27 years until retiring in 2002, insisted there were “no riders, no restrictions, no limits”. He claimed he and his wife were free to use his mother’s money however they wished. Sheriff William Gilchrist told jurors an analogy might be someone who told a babysitter to help themselves to food and drink, but then found they had taken the entire contents of the wine cellar. As Gladys Rough’s money was spent, the couple enjoyed three holidays a year and he went off on shooting weekends costing more than £500 a time. But the court heard the pair now had almost nothing left, and were living in a one-bedroom flat in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, that belonged to their grown-up son. Some £60,000 was taken between September 2010 and July 2015. Ex-Sgt Rough’s lawyer Lewis Kennedy said there was “nothing sinister” in any of the transactions. Dale Hughes, for Jean Rough, said Gladys Rough had told them “repeatedly” to take what they needed for themselves, and in doing so had given them a mandate to make withdrawals for whatever they needed. But after a ten-day trial, the jury took less than two hours to find the Roughs, of Alloa, guilty of a single charge of embezzling the £60,000. Sentence was deferred for reports until September 13, and they were released on bail. Police Scotland were called in by social workers in 2015 after the cutting-off of Gladys Rough’s phone caused her panic alarm to stop working. The court heard the Roughs had wanted to get “utter control” over Gladys Rough, and became angry when officials started to investigate their financial dealings. They had moved in November 2012 into a four-bedroom new-build house in Alloa, with the intention Gladys Rough would live with them and her husband would go into a care home close by. But Andrew Rough, senior, did not move, and Gladys Rough decided to return to her own home in Gargunnock, Stirlingshire, where she had many friends. The new house more than doubled the cost of the Roughs’ mortgage, and the pair began to use Gladys Rough’s money to make up the shortfall. Gladys Rough said she had been “shocked and stunned” to find that large sums had gone. Mr Kennedy asked ex-Sgt Rough: “Would you do anything to intimidate her?” Weeping, he replied: “She`s my mother, I`d never do that to her, I love her very much.”

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