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Trial of Kidderminster vicar continues with jury of 11
2:25pm Wednesday 6th February 2013 in News
THE trial of a Kidderminster vicar accused of stealing £61,000 from a vulnerable man in a nursing home has continued with a jury of 11.
A woman juror has been excused further attendance at Worcester Crown Court after it was learned that a close relative had just died.
Peter Hesketh, 65, of The Presbytery, Shrewsbury Road, pleads not guilty to stealing from the estate of Peter Court while he was resident at Park House home in Kinlet.
Prosecutor Paul Mytton alleges that Hesketh, a deacon of the Catholic church, took money for his own purposes after he was given power of attorney over Mr Court's affairs.
Mr Court used to help his mother Nellie to run The Woodman pub and caravan site at Ribbesford, Bewdley. When she died, he moved to a smaller house in Richmond Road, Bewdley.
The Heskeths were worried about his health, he was suffering from memory loss and dementia, and he was transferred to the nursing home after matron Melanie Allen saw his living conditions.
She was able to enter the house by an unsecure patio door and found him lying on a bed. The house was dirty and he was incoherent and unable to manage on his own. He had to be helped to eat prepared meals.
He was moved to Park House in October 2006 and died in May the next year. The funeral was sparsely attended and Hesketh, who terms himself Reverend, took the service. No family were present.
Eric Court, who was an executor of Mrs Court's will, was living in France so Hesketh, who was seen as supporting Peter Court, was given power of attorney.
Peter Court had a £300,000-plus share of his mother's estate, said solicitor Suzanne Lee, head of MFG litigation department. Her colleagues established that the Bewdley house had been let at £500 a month and there were no receipts although running costs were still being drawn by direct debit on Mr Court's account.
After checking through boxes of papers, she discovered that £43,000 had been paid out on accounts which did not relate to nursing care. Mr Court had also given his car to Mrs Hesketh although he was still paying the running costs.
The trial continues.