David Cooper: a case study in financial abuse

Published date21 February 2011
Date21 February 2011
AuthorSheree Green
Subject MatterHealth & social care,Sociology
36 © Pier Professional Ltd The Journal of Adult Protection Volume 13 Issue 1 • February 2011
Legal paper
The Telegraph (Savill, 2009) reported that Sonia Crabb, an
unemployed mother-of-five, and her boyfriend, Tony Junge,
financially exploited David Cooper who experienced epilepsy
and schizophrenia. David Cooper, described in court as having
below average intelligence’ (Savill, 2009) had inherited the
190-acre family farm following his father’s death in 1997. Crabb
and Junge had befriended David, sold their own property in a
neighbouring village, and moved into the farm in July 2004.
David then proceeded to sell off his farmland, plot by plot,
before transferring the farmhouse itself, reported to be worth
£640,000, together with remaining land, to Crabb. David also
made a new will, appointing Crabb as his executor and naming
her as sole beneficiary.
Crabb and Junge were reported to have then spent £90,000
of David’s money renovating the farmhouse, for their own use.
David meanwhile lived in an adjacent tack room, in conditions
described assqualidand ‘degrading’. His bath was in the same
room as his make-shift kitchen, and he had no working lavatory.
He had to climb a homemade ladder to get to bed. David
died on 5 November 2006, aged 51, with undiagnosed type 1
diabetes. It was reported that he was so malnourished he had
symptoms of scurvy’. At the time of his death, David’s only
remaining assets were a balance of £70 in one bank account and
£60 in another (Savill, 2009).
Crabb and Junge were convicted of conspiracy to steal in
April 2009 and given custodial sentences of 27 months and 24
months respectively. In Junge’s defence, he was described as
an unsophisticated individual’ who had been involved ‘to a lesser
extent’ in the conspiracy (Magee, 2009). The court also heard
that Crabb was of previous good character. It was also stressed
that diabetes was understood to be the cause of David’s weight
loss, not malnutrition (R v Crabb [2009]).
David died 11 months before the implementation of the
Mental Capacity Act 2005 (HM Government, 2005) (hereafter,
the Act). This case study discusses the indicators that may
have alerted individuals and services to the risk of financial
David Cooper: a case study
in financial abuse Sheree Green
Solicitor, Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, UK
key words
Financial abuse, mental
capacity; Lasting Powers of Attorney
This paper highlights the case
of David Cooper, a vulnerable adult
who was financially abused. It
discusses the indicators that may
have alerted individuals and services
to the risk of financial abuse, and
the measures taken by those aware
of David’s potential vulnerability.

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