Kathryn Walker, a British mother whose military son, Richard Walker, died on duty in Afghanistan in 2013, has been charged with wasting more than £450,000 left in her son’s will for someone else.
Kathryn, who had squandered the money on “extravagant” goods, was named executor of the will. According to Chronicle Live, she spent the money on automobiles, trailers, horses, private number plates, and paying off her personal obligations.
The deception was discovered after a relative of the intended benefactor overheard gossip about Kathryn becoming “minted” following the death of her son, Sapper Walker.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that after deductions, Sapper Walker’s estate amounted to £455,774. Walker received a check for that amount in 2014. When the intended beneficiary’s representative did not get statements concerning the money, she got concerned and attempted to contact Walker’s attorneys, who informed her they couldn’t help her.
According to Prosecutor Nick Lane:
“Many years later, she ran with someone who told her that Kathryn Walker was meant to be’minted’ following her son’s death. She’d lately purchased horses and stables.
“This troubled (the woman) since she understood from Mr Walker that his mum was not good with money. She got by on welfare and borrowed money from her son.”
The woman requested that lawyers investigate the money, and letters were sent to Kathryn, 56, requesting information, but no response was returned. She also refused to reply to a probate registry order asking her to give an inventory of the estate.
After the enforcement action was initiated in 2020, Kathryn called the woman’s attorneys and said that she had placed the cash in a caravan park, but that the business failed and she had lost them.
Police were notified, and investigations revealed that she had disbursed the funds within four months of receiving them. She transferred £137,000 to another account and spent £237,000 on caravans in Whitley Bay. She also removed over £30,000 in cash.
She also purchased private license plates, vehicles, spent £10,000 on groceries, and spent £800 on Sunderland Football Club. She subsequently sold the seven caravans she had purchased at a £160,000 loss.
Kathryn denied wasting the money when she was interviewed. She claimed to have spent £18,000 on a memorial garden at her home and to have paid off personal debts and rent arrears. She had also paid for a friend’s child’s medical treatment in another country.
Lane also stated;
“She agreed that she was aware that the money was not hers to spend. She expressed regret for her conduct.”
In a victim impact statement, the intended beneficiary’s representative stated:
“She has utterly breached her position of trust by spending this money for her own profit.
“I hired a private investigator and had to pay £6,000 in legal fees to discover answers.”
Kathryn was sentenced to three years and four months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud through abuse of trust. Judge Julie Clemitson stated at her sentencing:
“At the age of 56 years old without having been in court before, it’s a tragedy you come here today in relation of such a serious charge.
“Part of it was spent altruistically – you paid for medical treatment for a friend’s child. Some of it was spent on pure frivolity, such as a private number plate and horse box.
“You had spent the entire fortune, and there is now nothing left. This was a long-term deception that violated trust. It is the loss of a substantial sum of money.”