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Carer jailed over theft of savings

The carer of a wealthy paralysed widow was jailed yesterday for plundering her life savings.

Zandra Mackay and three other fraudsters took thousands of pounds from 83-year-old Catherine Devas and forced her to leave them her entire estate.

Mrs Devas, who died in 2006, cut her family out of her will in 2005, leaving everything to the son of her privately hired carer Mrs Mackay.

The pensioner moved from the Cotswolds to Cambridge after her husband died so that she could surround herself with academics who shared her love of books.

But she fell under the control of Mrs Mackay (62), who was hired to look after her but isolated her from her family.

At Cambridge Crown Court yesterday Mrs Mackay, of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, was sentenced to seven years' jail after a jury found her guilty of three counts of conspiracy to defraud.

Mrs Mackay's son Marcus Mackay, of Romford, Essex, previously admitted three counts of the same charge.

He was jailed for five years. Mrs Devas's secretary Deborah Atkinson and her mother Beryl Benbow (78), both from Lidgate, in Suffolk, were both sentenced for their part in the fraud.

Benbow was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud.

She was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years. Atkinson admitted three counts of the same charge and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

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