Lorry driver pretended to be dead friend for two years to steal £60,000 savings


Dean Thompson, 54, from Hull, East Yorkshire called up First Direct bank impersonating his dead friend and asked for £25,000 to be transferred to his own account

The court heard that Thompson used the money for his family's day to day expenditure
The court heard that Dean Thompson used the money for his family’s day to day expenditure

A lorry driver posed as his dead friend for two years so he could steal more than £60,000 of his cash and life savings.

Dean Thompson, 54, from Hull, East Yorkshire had ‘unofficially’ cared for his neighbor David Traylen for some 20 years.

But when he died aged 78 Thompson began posing as his friend in a bid to take his money.

Shortly after Mr Traylen’s death Thompson transferred £25,000 from the late pensioner’s bank to his own, before transferring another £30,000 worth of uncashed bonds to himself two years later.

Thompson, 54, of Hull admitted five counts of fraud by false representation and one count of theft at Hull Crown Court, Hull Live reports.

Ben Hammersley, prosecuting, told the court Thompson had been unofficially caring for his 78-year-old neighbour, David Traylen, for almost two decades.

Dean Thompson was jailed for two years at Hull Crown Court

The court heard Mr Traylen did not have any known relatives or beneficiaries to his estate when he died on October 2, 2017.

Thompson registered David’s death with Hull City Council but then called up First Direct bank, impersonating Mr Traylen and asking for the £28,000 in his savings account to be transferred into his current account.

Posing as Mr Traylen, Thompson told the bank he was ‘very ill and wanted to sort out his funds’.

He then wrote himself a check for £25,000.

Over the next two years, Thompson used the money for his family’s day-to-day expenditure. the court heard.

He continued to withdraw a further £6,367 using Mr Traylen’s debit card.

In October 2019, again posing as his dead neighbour, Thompson accessed a further £30,000 of uncashed bonds and transferred them into his own account.

On November 11, 2019, Mr Traylen’s sister, who lived in New Zealand, came forward to claim his estate. She appointed a solicitor in the UK to liquidate the property, unearthing Thompson’s fraud.

A total of £61,356.25 was taken from Mr Traylen’s accounts.

In a police interview, Thompson claimed the money had been a gift from Mr Traylen, but later fully admitted to the offences.

Charlotte Baines, mitigating, said Thompson has had no previous convictions in his 54 years.

She added: “He knows what he did was despicable and utterly regrets his actions.

“His intentions were good, he supported David Traylen when he was alive, David had no one to care for him when he was alive. The defendant had meaningful intentions.

“Thompson is someone with a strong work ethic, working for most of his adult life, he had a secure job at Stagecoach Transport. He has been trying to put together the funds to pay back what he took, he wants to put it right. “

Judge Peter Kelson QC said that Thompson had ‘underestimated’ the support he gave his neighbour, but his actions meant he would face jail time.

He said: “I accept that you did previously support the victim before his demise.

“Your described yourself as his unofficial carer, that is an underestimation of the support you provided him. However, after his death, you immediately transferred money to yourself by deceiving his bank.

“The aggravating features of this case are the abuse of trust and sophisticated nature of the offense in that it took significant planning. This surpasses the threshold for immediate custody.”

Judge Kelson sentenced Dean Thompson to two years in prison.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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