A navy veteran has been described as “despicable” and “heartless” after he was found guilty of scamming his young stepson out of his inheritance.
The con began in December 2006 when Iain Shepherd, from Bognor Regis in the UK, set up a secret bank account under his wife’s name after forging her signature.
But he soon began using it to siphon money out of his 10-year-old stepson Joshua Powell’s £83,255 ($A149,419) inheritance.
The boy, who has learning difficulties, inherited the cash when his father Stephen Powell died.
His mother Mary eventually remarried after starting a relationship with Shepherd, who was a navy friend of her husband’s.
According to Portsmouth News, Shepherd stole £58,895.78 ($A105,700) over a four-year period, which was only discovered a decade after it began when Mrs Shepherd became suspicious of her husband.
In 2017, she reported him to the police, and this week he was finally found guilty of fraud and sentenced to three years and eight months behind bars.
Mrs Shepherd and her son, who is now 23, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court for the sentencing and told reporters justice had been served.
“He is absolutely despicable. What he has done is beyond words,” Portsmouth News reported Mrs Shepherd as saying.
“He is a heartless, callous, sociopath. He is the lowest of the low and deserves to be in prison.”
According to the Express Digest, Mrs Shepherd also branded him a “disgrace to the armed forces”.
“He lied to everyone. He pretended he was this wonderful businessman when really he was a two-faced, compulsive liar,” the publication reported her as saying.
Shepherd spent 21 years in the navy and was even awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his service
According to the UK’s Express Digest, Mr Powell called for that honour to be stripped from him in an emotional victim impact statement.
“I would like him to be punished and to go to prison and have his MBE taken away from him and for people to know the despicable apology of a human being he is,” his statement reads.
The court also heard Shepherd — who also served as president of his local Chamber of Commerce, as well as an EU “ambassador of the sea” — was bankrupt when he began swiping the cash, and he had pocketed it via a series of transfers of small sums from December 2006 to February 2010.
Shepherd was also ordered to pay £19,497.70 ($A34,992) in compensation, and he told the court he would one day repay his debt to his stepson.
“I apologise unreservedly to everyone that’s been affected by this, which I’m truly sorry. What I did was firmly dreadful,” he said, according to the Express Digest.
It’s just one of a string of high-profile inheritance cases to make news in the UK in recent months.
In May, it was revealed UK man Jordan Adlard-Rogers extracted DNA from his estranged father’s body to prove he was the rightful heir of the dead man’s $92 million estate.
In June, cleaner Leonora Da Costa made headlines after scoring a massive legal victory that could pave the way for her to inherit her boss’s $910,000 house.
In the same month, taxi driver Dean Hughes — who inherited a passenger’s entire estate — was slapped with a huge legal bill after the dead man’s will was overturned following a bitter legal battle.
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