Wednesday 16 January 2019
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Paul Schmidt jailed for neglecting elderly mother

A man has been jailed for 20 months for neglecting his elderly mother and defrauding her of thousands of pounds.

Marjorie Schmidt, now 87, weighed 5st (32kg) and had toenails so long she had trouble walking when she was found in a soiled bed in Barnham, West Sussex.

Motor mechanic Paul Schmidt, 52, of Hedge End, was jailed for 12 months for wilful neglect and eight months for defrauding his mother of £6,700.

Hove Crown Court ordered the sentences to run consecutively.

The court heard dementia patient Mrs Schmidt went to live with her son and his partner Amanda Whelan, 38, in 2010.

Schmidt's former wife Jacqueline Bidwell and their daughters, in their 20s, became concerned when family and friends were not allowed to see her.

When they did get into the property in 2011 they were so alarmed they dialled 999.

"It was very difficult for my daughters," said Ms Bidwell.

"They were very, very upset because they couldn't believe their father could do that to his mother."

Whelan was sentenced to nine months in jail, suspended for two years, for wilful neglect. She was also ordered to do 160 hours' community service.

Both defendants had denied the charges.

Kelly Torr, of West Sussex Social Services, said Mrs Schmidt's condition was extremely serious.

She said: "If she had been left there any longer, who's to know what would have happened to her?"

Mrs Schmidt was moved to a care home, where she gained 2st in one month and is now said to be happy and and healthy.

Judge Charles Kemp said the pensioner had been systematically fleeced by the couple, who had kept her in a small, sparsely furnished room.

"It is difficult to imagine a more callous way to treat an elderly lady," he said.