'Selfish' son stole from grieving dad
A HEARTLESS son has been jailed after fleecing his frail father out of £6,000 and saddling the stroke victim with severe debt.
Callum Harris, who used to manage darts players, has been jailed for six months after frittering away dad Brian's savings on 'selfish indulgences' such as lavish holidays.
The 81-year-old, who was struggling to get over the death of his wife, is currently in hospital suffering from dementia.
Harris, from Clayton, admitted fraud at Birmingham Crown Court.
Due to Brian's failing health, his 41-year-old son was granted lasting power of attorney in June 2010, so he could deal with bills and expenses.
But Harris, who has previously played darts with Basford-based PDC star Ian White, abused his position, taking money and ignoring bills pushed through the letter box.
According to relatives, the bills included £762 owed to Meals On Wheels, an £809 electricity bill, £3,120 for gas and £4,877 for unpaid council tax.
Not all the cash owed was a result of Harris's theft.
The pensioner's family said he struck when his victim was enduring 'visible grief' following the death of wife June in September 2009.
Mrs Harris's sister, Gill Cox, who now has power of attorney, said that her brother-in-law also had to find £2,003 for water and £908 for legal fees.
Her husband John said: "Brian was not made aware of this appalling situation due to Callum's control of incoming post and Brian's basic trust in the honesty of his son.
"It has since been proven that these debts would not have arisen if Brian's finances had been managed in an appropriate manner and his income not been used for his son's personal benefit.
"Brian is now coming to terms with his situation brought about by his son's fraudulent behaviour and wishes to see him punished for his misdemeanours."
Recorder Mark Stephens told Harris: "Your father trusted you to manage his affairs.
"You abused that position. Your father was old and vulnerable. Quite apart from his health he was, no doubt, still grieving for your mother."
The judge accepted Harris had not set out to defraud his father from the outset, but went on: "You took from your father's account a substantial amount of money, £6,000.
"That money, I find, was wasted on your own selfish indulgences."
Austen Bannister, defending, said drink problems meant Harris was incapable of looking after his own affairs, let alone his father's.
But he felt, as the only son, he should take responsibility. Harris, he added, bitterly regretted what he had done.
The victim raised the alarm when unpaid bills were pushed through the door.
"We are now dealing with the possibility that he won't be allowed to return to his home. He may have to go into permanent care somewhere," added Mr Cox.