‘Mean’ are spent thousands he stole from own mum on Netflix, JustEat and a tan

Daniel McDonald left his mother Jane Knox living in “sparse’ conditions and barely able to pay for food after pleaded guilty to embezzling just under £10,000 in Livingston, Scotland

A judge told 28-year-old Daniel McDonald to “hang his head in shame” after robbing his own mother

A “unpleasant” son took thousands of pounds from his disabled mum and splashed the stolen cash on takeaways, PlayStation games and visits to a sun tan shop.

Daniel McDonald, 28, was told to hang his head in shame in court after leaving Jane Knox struggling to pay for food.

His mother was left living in “sparse’ conditions with empty cupboards, insufficient clothing and a broken cooker, Edinburgh Live reports.

He regularly took cash from her bank account and placed orders for Netflix movies, video games and JustEat deliveries while she survived on microwave meals and charity from food banks.

Money was also going from her account to subprime money lenders Amigo loans, Livingston Sheriff Court was told, eating up her £1,121 monthly benefit payments between June and October 2019 and leaving her £445 in the red.

He must undertake 250 hours of unpaid work and repay his mother in full

The theft left his disabled mum sleeping in her daytime clothes, the court was told

Louise Alexander, prosecuting, said another carer was eventually appointed to look after Mrs Knox, who suffers from Spina Bifida and Cerebral Palsy and is paralyzed down one side.

The carer found that the food cupboards in her kitchen were almost empty and social workers had to source four food parcels from a local charity.

Miss Alexander said the carer raised concerns that Mrs Knox was sleeping in her daytime clothes.

She said: “She had no underwear and only six pairs of pants,” she said.

When a bank statement in October 2019 showing that Mrs Knox’s bank account was overdrawn, the carer contacted the police and officers took a statement from McDonald’s mother.

She told the court: “She said she was petrified of the accused and stated that he had her bank card and would not give her it back.

“Police received the bank statements relating to the complainers account and noted that there were a number of transactions of interest.

“There were also withdrawals from cash points and a large number of debit charge transactions for food outlets.”

In a further police interview, McDonald’s mum told detectives that she had asked him to return her bank card on approximately 20 occasions but he had told her: “What do you want money for? You don’t go out!”

Mrs Knox was eventually taken into respite care and officers who went to her home to interview McDonald noted that her bedroom was “very sparse” and furnished with just a bed, a small chest of drawers and a commode.

When they asked McDonald where his mum’s bank card was, he produced it from his wallet before “speaking freely” to them about his handling of his mother’s finances.

“He said that he’d withdrawn £500 from his mother’s account on a monthly basis to cover bills but didn’t use the card for payments at stores or online.”

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McDonald, of Falconer Rise, Livingston, initially denied embezzling £13,200 from his mum but, on the eve of his trial, pleaded guilty to embezzling just under £10,000 between September 1, 2017, and January 27, 2020.

The prosecution accepted his not guilty plea to a charge of repeatedly shouting at his mother, acting in an aggressive manner towards her and threatening her with violence over a 17-month period

Darryl Lovie, defending, said McDonald struggled to say why he had taken money from his mother’s account.

He said: “The offense has caused him considerable concern and he has presented to the author of the background report as often tearful.

“He’s a man who undertook the care of his mother when he was in his early 20s and it’s clear he had difficulties.

“More significantly he’s a first offender, he has no other outstanding cases and other than on this occasion, he’s never come to the attention of the police or the criminal justice system.”

He said the accused had been subject to a special bail condition banning him from contacting his mum since January 28 last year.

He had since led a largely pro-social life and was now in work and due to become a father himself later this year.

Passing sentence, Sheriff John MacRitchie told McDonald: “This is a particularly mean and unpleasant offense involving you according to the description of your mother’s living conditions by the Crown.

“She had no money to get food and had to rely on charity because you were stealing her money and leaving her in a room with just a bed and minimal furniture.

“It’s way past the custody threshold and a prison sentence is justified.

“Were it not for the fact that you’re a first offender I’d have no hesitation in imposing at the very upper end of my sentencing powers.”

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The sheriff went on: “You should really hang your head in shame. You did that to someone who brought you into the world and, to the extent of nearly £10,000, left her in that position.

“Notwithstanding the disgust anyone listening to the narrative today will feel towards what you’ve done I do feel that the appropriate sentence as a direct alternative to imprisonment is one of 250 hours of unpaid work and compensation for the full sum of £9,999 payable at a minimum of £200 per month.”

He said he had discounted the sentence by one-sixth to reflect the fact that McDonald had offered to plead guilty before trial, avoiding the need for witnesses, including his mother, to come to court to give evidence.

He stressed that McDonald should make sure he repaid the money so his mother could hopefully have restored to her the basic necessities that he had removed from her as a result of his “quite appalling activities”.

He added: “I make no apologies for emphasizing to you that if you do anything like this in the future the fact that you’re a first offender – the only reason you’re not being sent to prison today – will not apply.”

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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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