A ‘trusted’ estate agent who stole £110,000 from both an elderly widow and the estate of a deceased friend has been jailed for two years.
Roger Darnton, who pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud at Teeside Court in March, has now been sentenced.
Until retiring last year, Darnton used to run an eponymous estate agency in the Yorkshire market town of Guisborough and was a respected member of the local business community known locally as ‘Mr Guisborough’.
It was this reputation that led the 53-year-old both to be given power of attorney over a 90-year-old woman in the town and also a position of responsibility helping resolve the £2.4 million estate of a deceased lifelong friend and local farmer, Robert Ramshaw.
But in 2017 Darnton (pictured, below) revealed to the trustees of the estate that he had stolen £90,000 from its bank account, and that he had also tried to steal money from an elderly woman’s estate, who was also one of its beneficiaries.
The crimes took place over a four year period from 2012 onwards and, Darnton’s legal team revealed in court, took place during a time when he was experiencing severe financial difficulties.
In mitigation, it was revealed that Darnton has sold his family home in order to repay the sums stolen from his victims, which was spent on storing antiques, hotel stays, paying off debts and council tax.
Judge Howard Crowson told Grayson that he ‘systematically stole’ the sums and that: “It was only possible because you were trusted. Other executives were happy to write blank cheques and you were using those blank cheques to withdraw money for your own benefit”.