A mother who plundered her disabled daughter's £2.6million compensation money has been told she faces a long prison sentence.
Cathy Watson, 44, raided the medical negligence payout so that she and her ex-husband Robert Hills, 49, could live like lottery winners. The money paid for houses, cars, holidays and even breast enlargements.
At Doncaster Crown Court, Watson was found guilty of theft and transferring criminal property. Hills admitted theft and gave evidence against his ex-wife.
They were charged with stealing more than £500,000 from daughter Samantha Svendsen, now 29, but in reality they spent a lot more.
Hills met Watson when she was a 19-year-old single mother and legally adopted Samantha, who suffered brain damage at birth and has cerebral palsy.
After years of legal wrangling, Samantha received the massive payout in 1999, when she was 15.
She is wheelchair-bound, cannot speak or feed herself and needs help 24 hours a day.
The cash was intended to pay for her lifetime of care.
The trial raised questions about the Court of Protection. It has jurisdiction over the affairs of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
Watson was given the authority to deal with Samantha's finances and interests by the COP through its administrative arm at the time, the Public Guardianship Office.
Hills played a major role in the decisions even though he has 26 convictions, many for dishonesty, and once served a 21-month jail term.
Despite this, COP officials in London failed to spot the extravagant spending. Watson spent £12,000 on breast enlargement surgery and liposuction, and at least £82,000 on a failed business venture.
Initially they complied with rules to account for their spending. When they stopped, the COP sent Watson warning letters which she ignored.
Watson was told by Judge Jacqueline Davies, who adjourned sentence, that she faces a 'significant' jail term.
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