The actress was forced to dress as a dead man after a friend stole it from her
A British actress was forced to dress as a dead person while living in a care facility after her friend and costume designer stole thousands of dollars from her, a judge has ruled.
Margaret Wright, also known as Meg Owen Owen, appeared I really love Doctor Who. And Pride and Prejudice. The actress, who died this past summer, suffered from dementia in her later years and was moved to a care home in Cardiff, Wales in 2015. The move comes months after Brian Mallam, 60, was named. His power of attorney According to Wells Online, due to his mental state.
During sentencing proceedings against Mallam, who had already been convicted of fraud, prosecutor Abigail Jackson alleged that he stopped seeing Wright and began stealing tens of thousands of pounds from her savings account. Jackson claimed Mallam withdrew the cash while acting as his power of attorney and transferred the money from Wright’s account to his own, Wales Online reported.
In the role of power of attorney, she was supposed to transfer money from Wright’s bank account to the care center so that staff could buy essentials for the actress. Instead, Mallam sent only a few payments, leaving Wright without necessities such as clothing and a hairdresser.
Lacking funds, staff dressed Wright in the clothes of dead residents and cut his hair, the court was told, according to the outlet.
In October 2014, staff knew something was off with Wright’s money, so they took him to his bank to review his statements. Once there, according to the prosecutor, Malam was revealed to have stolen from him.
According to Wales Online, the Office of the Public Guardian investigated the case before local police stepped in. Authorities determined Mallam took £65,000 (more than $78,000) from Wright over four years.
“Mrs. Wright became terribly upset about it. She then reported the matter to the police in September 2020,” Jackson said during his sentencing, according to The mirror. “That’s how the investigation with the police started and the matter came to light.”
He spoke to the police after the arrest. Mallam admitted that he took the money from Wright Buy stuff for his work. However, he said he “always wanted to pay her back,” per the mirror.
Despite his reasons, Judge Paul Hobson told Malam that he was “in an important position of trust with many responsibilities. … The position was that You are withdrawing money from his bank account in substantial funds and either transferred to your own account or spent directly,” according to Leading Britain Conversations.
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“What you were doing over time was knowing full well that the money would not realistically be repaid,” Judge Hobson continued, according to LBC.
Hobson told Mallam, per the outlet, “Your victim had to dress the dead residents of her care home due to inadequate funding. She is diminished by your actions towards her.”
He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison, per The mirror. He is set to spend up to half of that time before completing his sentence doing community service.
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Mallam’s attorney, Andrew Davis, said in court proceedings that Mallam and Wright had been friends for years and that Mallam was the only one who cared for Wright. He noted that Mallam did not spend his money on “flash cars or luxury holidays” but rather on his clothing designing business, Wales Online reported.
He said Malam suffered from alcoholism and “everything disappeared from alcoholism.”
Davis did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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