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Woman defrauded elderly mother of £41,000, court told

A woman allegedly conned more than £40,000 out of her elderly mother by forging the pensioner's signature on her cheques, a jury has heard.

Opening the trial to the Belfast Crown Court jury of seven men and five women, prosecution lawyer David McClean told them that it would be the Crown case that at no time did 48-year-old Heather Ruth Noble have permission from her mother to write and sign the cheques.

He said that the alleged fraudulent behaviour occurred between July 2006 and August 2008 and, although the indictment only related to nine cheques, they were specimen counts to reflect the total of 32 cheques allegedly forged by Noble, amounting to a total of £41,000.

Noble, from the Aughnabrack Road in north Belfast, denies two charges of theft, two of forgery and a further seven of fraud by false representation.

Mr McClean told the jury that her mother, Johnina Noble, was 78 or 79 years old at the time of the alleged offences but has since passed away, adding that her statement to police would be read to them in the course of the trial.

The alleged fraud began, said the lawyer, shortly after Noble moved in and then bought her mother's house on the Aughnabrack Road for £100,000, leaving £82,000 left over when the mortgage was cleared, but on the understanding that the pensioner could live out the remainder of her days in the house.

Mrs Noble was hospitalised from July until November 2006 and Mr McClean said evidence and exhibits would prove that the defendant had written a £2,000 cheque to herself in September of that year.

Arrested and interviewed about the matter, Noble admitted to forging her mother's signature, but claimed that it was done with the pensioner's full knowledge and permission.

In her police statement, however, said Mr McClean, “Johnina Noble doesn't accept that”, and added that by the end of the trial, due to last four days, the jury will have heard “persuasive and cogent evidence which will convince you of the guilt of the accused”.

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph