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Mystery over £6k savings that disappeared from account of pensioner Down couple

By Cate McCurry

Published 08/04/2016

Rachel and John Crooks at their Co Down home. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
Rachel and John Crooks at their Co Down home. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )

A Co Down grandmother is "devastated" after almost £6,000 that she had left in her will for her daughter was stolen.

Rachel Crooks put thousands of pounds she acquired from the sale of an apartment into a savings account that had been earmarked for her daughter, a single mother-of-two.

The 70-year-old and husband John (67), from Banbridge, said they had no other money to leave their family since they did not have any savings.

Last year she made enquiries into the interest made on her Santander account only to discover it had just £30 in it.

Further investigations revealed a number of cash withdrawals had been made around the couple's former home near Castlewellan in 2013.

The pair made desperate efforts to recover the money from the bank only to be told they were too late.

"It's very disappointing to be told that we will never get our money back," Rachel said.

"There's very little else we can do, but we have to try as it's all we have. All our savings are gone and it's all we had to give our daughter.

"I put £5,640 into the savings account in September 2012. I rang the bank last year out of the blue as I wanted to see how much interest I made on the account. When I rang the bank I was told I had £30 left in it.

"We spoke to the manager in Santander and he told me that they couldn't prove that I didn't take the money from the account. But I definitely didn't.

"Another issue is that I never even received one statement, a card or anything.

"When I opened the account they never told me that I would get a card.

"With it being a savings account, I never thought I had to enquire about it."

The bank told Mrs Crooks that because she failed to raise the issue within 13 months of the money going missing she would not be able to claim it back.

Santander gave Mrs Crooks £200 as a gesture, but she has appealed for the full amount to be returned.

An investigation was carried out by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and found that Santander had dealt with her compliant fairly.

It stated that the bank had investigated the matter and thought she had been inadvertently using her savings account, believing that it was her current account.

The bank went on to say that it refused to refund the account on the basis that it did not think the spending pattern was that of a fraudster.

However, Mrs Crooks claimed she never received a statement or card for that account.

"The told me they sent the statements out but we definitely did not get it," she added.

"We were very upset about it. I had to tell my daughter the money was gone and I felt terrible about it. I'll never get over it."

A spokeswoman for Santander said it could not comment because the complaint was "still live" with the FOS.

Belfast Telegraph

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