Daughter stole €205k from parents as they holidayed around Europe, leaving her in charge of finances
A daughter stole up to £180,000 (€205,000) from her parents and left them without any money in Europe after they sold their home and went on a round the world trip, a court heard.
Melissa Humphreys (33) abused her parents' trust when they left their finances in her hands after setting off on a trip around Europe in a motorhome.
The retired couple were forced to cut their trip short when they discovered they were suddenly unable to withdraw any money from their bank accounts.
When an investigation was launched it was discovered that Humphreys had spent all their funds, maxed out their credit cards and had even applied for new cards in their names.
Appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court, Humphreys admitted 12 counts of fraud involving credit cards and one count of obtaining property by deception.
At an earlier hearing Barry Hargreaves, prosecuting, said victims, Elizabeth and Terence Fordham, had been left in a “dreadful financial position”.
He said in 2006, the retired couple sold their property and bought a motorhome in order to go travelling across Europe.
They had left their daughter, Humphreys, responsible for the management of their credit cards and bank accounts.
Mr Hargreaves said: “They discovered in 2010 things began going wrong and they couldn’t get money out. Eventually it transpires that the accounts had no money in them.
“Credit cards were maxed out and they had to borrow money from a relative to get back to the UK.
“Their dreams have been shattered by these offences. They have been left in a dreadful financial position.”
Following Humphreys’ plea, Judge Emma Peters said: "Given the breach of trust here and the extended period of dishonesty, and the terrible fact that her victims were her parents, is clearly an aggravating factor in my view."
Humphreys denied three charges of obtaining property by deception, and the prosecution said they would be pursuing the charges. Steven Levy, defending, called for an eight-week adjournment for a psychiatric report to be written.
He said: "Clearly this matter was not one that was easy to assimilate because of the age of some of the offences and the defendant's parents went away some time ago.
"That has had a big impact on her, and her mental health."
In summing up, Judge Peters, said: "You've pleaded guilty to most of these offences and stolen tens of thousands of pounds from your parents, just short of £200,000.
"I don't want you to be under any doubt at all that the most immediate sentence will be one of custody."
She added: "Bail is no indication of the sentence you might receive."
Humphreys must stay at her home and surrender her passport to Colchester police station until November when she is next due at Chelmsford Crown Court for sentencing.