A seriously ill pensioner had to sell his home after a crook “carer” gambled away £90,000 of his savings. 

Alistair Anderson, 60, seemed to be an “honest friend” taking care of the pensioner whose health was declining during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

But over the course of two years the former- chef and Westminster Abbey Marshal stole £90,000 to feed his online gambling addiction. 

In the aftermath of Anderson’s wicked behaviour the pensioner was diagnosed with dementia and was no longer able to live independently. 

With his savings gone, his home was sold to pay for his care home fees, a court heard. 

Anderson was given a suspended sentence for the offence and left court a free man. 

News Shopper: Anderson, aged 60, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representationAnderson, aged 60, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation (Image: Newsquest)

‘Exploited his trust’ 

On Friday (April 19) Anderson, of White Horse Road in Aldgate, appeared at Woolwich Crown Court for sentencing. 

He had pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at a previous hearing at Bromley Magistrates’ Court. 

The court heard that his offending began in 2020 and continued until March 2022. 

The pensioner had invited Anderson to move in with him in Bromley when he was without a home, the court heard. 

Judge Ben Gumpert KC said: “You were the beneficiary of his kindness.” 

But the pensioner’s health declined and Anderson, appearing to be an “honest friend”, took on a caring role. 

“As his health deteriorated you realised you had the opportunity to exploit his trust and goodwill, because you had access to his bank account,” Judge Gumpert said. 

“Instead of using that bank account for his benefits, or even for both or your benefits as you were living in the same home, you used it to satisfy your addiction – as it is called – to gambling.” 

‘Gambling addiction’ 

Anderson’s barrister, Mr Krickler, said his client had developed a gambling addiction during lockdown. 

Mr Krickler said: ”He would often have pop-ups on his screen regarding gambling. He had never gambled before, apart from the grand national or the national lottery. 

“He clicked on the avert and began gambling, and it began spiralling out of control.” 

Having used up his own money and cashed out his pension, Anderson started using the victim’s in the hope of “making up the loses”, Mr Krickler said. 

Judge Gumpert said he believes Anderson is a perfectly rational man who knew exactly what he was doing. 

“You had a position of trust. You were believed to be an honest friend. But in fact you weren’t. You were a cheat,” he said. 

“This went on for over two years and you were targeting someone you knew was vulnerable by virtue of their age or ill health.” 

Suspended sentence 

The pensioner suffered great anxiety due to Anderson’s behaviour and was later diagnosed with dementia, the court heard.

With his health declining and his capital reserves gone, his house was sold to pay for his care home fees. 

Judge Gumpert told Anderson that his betrayal had robbed the victim’s family of the ability to manage the difficult situation with dignity. 

Anderson worked as an RAF chef for 13 years before becoming a church Marshal at Westminster Abbey, a post he held for 17 years until he lost it due to these offences. 

But Mr Krickler said Anderson is determined to pay back the money and has already repaid some. 

“His one ambition, his goal, is to repay the money he has taken,” Mr Krickler said. 

Judge Gumpert sentenced Anderson to two years in custody, suspended for two years. 

Anderson’s intentions to repay the money and his genuine remorse were cited as reasons for suspended the sentence, as well as the current overcrowding of prisons. 

Delays to the case

During his sentencing, Judge Gumpert criticised the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for the delay to the case.

When Anderson was arrested over two years ago he made a full confession but he was not charged until December 2023.

Judge Gumpert said: "It is a flaw on the part of the police and CPS which repeats itself time and time again."