Actress Meg Wynn, who appeared in films including Love Actually and Pride and Prejudice, had to wear clothes from deceased residents of the care home she was living in after the man in charge of her money stole thousands from her.
The actress – real name Margaret Wright – had dementia and appointed her friend, costume designer Brian Malam, as power of attorney.
However, rather than helping her with her finances, he helped himself to a total of £65,000 of her money over the course of about four years.
Malam has been sentenced to 32 months in prison. He will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that in 2014, Malam was granted power of attorney over Mrs Wright’s finances.
In 2015, Mrs Wright was moved into a care home. The court heard that while Malam visited at first, the visits became less frequent before stopping altogether.
The court also heard that he was helping himself to her money via a string of bank transfers to his own account, direct spending, and cash withdrawals.
As a result, staff had no money to buy clothes for Mrs Wright and she had to be dressed in the clothes of deceased residents. They could also not pay for a hairdresser to visit her, so staff had to cut her hair themselves.
After staff became concerned, they attended the bank to examine her statements. The matter was reported to police in 2020.
Mrs Wright died in June this year.
Malam said following his arrest that he had intended to pay Mrs Wright back, and that he thought she would have wanted him to have the money as she had told him that he would inherit her money when she died.
He had pleaded guilty to fraud when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has no previous convictions.
His lawyer, Andrew Davies, said the pair had known each other for decades, and claimed that he did not use the money for luxuries, but to keep his costume design business afloat.
He said Malam had worked hard all his life but following the breakdown of a relationship, consumed alcohol to excess.
Judge Paul Hobson told Malam he had abused the trust placed in him and had ‘betrayed’ his friend.
Mrs Wright was known for roles including Hazel Bellamy in Upstairs Downstairs, as well as appearances in Love Actually, Pride & Prejudice, and A Woman of Substance.
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