A MAN who stole £170,000 from his 96-year-old aunt, leaving her in debt and unable to pay her nursing home fees, has been jailed.

Paul Gilder, 65, of Queens Street, Yaxley, applied for power of attorney for his aunt in 2008 in order to deal with her finances when she was in the early stages of dementia following a fall and subsequent hospitalisation.

She moved into a care home in 2009 and Gilder sold her bungalow in Fulbridge Road, Peterborough, which would have ensured her care was paid for.

But Gilder began helping himself to his aunt's savings - withdrawing £54,557 between July 2010 and June 2011.

He also used her accounts to pay £2,590 to finance his new partner's divorce and splashed out a further £6,160 on holidays to Turkey and Egypt between October 2010 and May 2011. He also paid for a BMW X5 in cash.

It was discovered that the victim's care home fees had not been paid since December 2010 and she was in arrears of £20,000. The Office of Public Guardian notified police after Gilder refused to explain why the fees had not been paid.

Gilder was arrested and charged with fraud. He pleaded guilty and was jailed for 32 months at Peterborough Crown Court on Friday (July 26).

Detective Constable Mikala Chambers, who investigated, said: "Gilder was trusted with looking after his aunt's finances in order that she would be looked after for the rest of her life.

"But he frittered away all of the money she had saved over the years, spending it frivolously on holidays, cars and other luxuries.

"He had no right to use her finances and is now facing the consequences of his selfish actions."