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Stanhope Arms landlord collapses in dock when sentenced over stealing £81k from elderly parents

By Paul Hooper

A pub landlord, who secretly used £81,000 of his parents' cash to keep his failing business afloat, dramatically collapsed today.

Adrian White had just been sent to prison when he was told to go with officers and start his sentence.

But the brickie-turned landlord suddenly clutched his chest at Maidstone Crown Court and fell to the floor.

Ambulance crews were sent to the court
Ambulance crews were sent to the court

Prison staff, security officers and his lawyer went to his aid and paramedics were summoned.

He was then taken to hospital by ambulance in the company of prison staff.

Earlier, the court had heard how the fraudster had been caught out when his step-mother went to get money to buy him a birthday present.

The 57-year-old Freemason later told a probation officer his father had died believing his son was a thief.

White, who is landlord of the Stanhope Arms in Church Road, Brasted, Westerham had been entrusted with Power of Attorney in 2015 in case his dad and mum Robert and Mavis White became unable to handle their own financial affairs, Maidstone Crown Court heard.

But instead he defrauded them to prop up the loss-making pub. He admitted one charge and was jailed for 25 and-a-half months.

White claimed he had been estranged from his father for years. But thanks to his wife, White re-kindled the relationship and father and son attended lodge meetings together.

Judge Charles Macdonald QC
Judge Charles Macdonald QC

Judge Charles Macdonald QC heard the money had been secretly transferred from his father's account into White's business account at a time when the pub was losing money.

White told probation officer Linda Jaycock he had intended to repay the money and handed back £20,000 when the fraud was discovered.

Tariq Al-Mallak for White, said: "He has made mistakes. He was estranged for a while.

"But he did things for his father, who lived on the Isle of Sheppey. He had hoped he would pay everything back.

"He took the money because his business was going under. "

White claimed he used some of the money refurbishing his father's home in Sheppey.

Mr Al-Mallak added: "He did not want to hurt his father and if he goes to prison the business will shut down leaving his wife and daughter homeless.

"He wants to pay back the money. He has always cared about his father and spent a great deal of his time and effort helping his father settle into and improving his father’s home."

Mary Jacobson, prosecuting, said that White, his wife and a niece and her son were given Power of Attorney in October 2015. That power would only come into effect should Robert or Mavis lack mental capacity.

She said: “Robert never lacked mental capacity throughout the period.

"He is now unfortunately deceased. Mrs White eventually succumbed to Alzheimers.

“Therefore there was never any permission given to White to take the money for his own use and he was not a beneficiary under his father’s will, " she added.

Ambulance crews were sent to the court (8452783)
Ambulance crews were sent to the court (8452783)

Ms Jacobson added the prosecution couldn’t challenge some of White’s claims that he worked for his father and some of the money was used for his late father.

White was arrested at his pub and told police officers some of the missing cash had been used to pay for his father’s care home fees.

“The officer then pointed out the fees had been paid directly from his father’s bank, "she added.

Ms Jacobson told the judge that White admitted using his father’s money wrongly but there was no malice in what he did and intended repaying him.

“He spoke of his remorse that his father died believing his son had stolen from him and him not being able to explain himself or make amends.”

White was a bricklayer and later became involved in construction management although his last venture went wrong and the company was liquidated.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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