Support our Nation today - please donate here

‘Thoroughly dishonest’ mother jailed for stealing daughters’ inheritance

31 May 2024 5 minute read
Swansea Crown Court. Photo by Nigel Davies is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

A “thoroughly dishonest” mother who stole the £50,000 inheritance left to her daughters by their grandmother has been jailed for more than two years.

Katherine Hill, 53, worked with her 93-year-old father, Gerald Hill – who she used as a “patsy” – to cheat her children out of the money left to them by their grandmother, who died in 2013.

The £50,000 was left to Gemma and Jessica Thomas in their grandmother Margaret’s will, which stated they could access it once they turned 25.

Katherine and Gerald Hill emptied the account in just over a year.


Appearing before Swansea Crown Court on Friday, Katherine Hill, of Pontardawe in South Wales, was handed a 30-month prison sentence. She will serve half of that in jail and half on licence.

Gerald Hill, of the Gower, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, with the judge fearing he would cause “chaos” to the prison system if he were jailed due to his advanced age.

The judge, Recorder Greg Bull KC said: “You are thoroughly dishonest people.

“Over a period of about a year, between March 2016 and March 2017 you each participated in a wilful fraud to obtain £50,000 from a trust fund which had been set up by Margaret Hill.

“Her granddaughters were to receive £25,000 each, a small bequest was made to a friend and you, Katherine Hill, was to receive the balance of her estate.

“I’m satisfied that you were so annoyed that your daughters had been left more money than you, that you spitefully and dishonestly decided to obtain their inheritance.

“You did it in part for greed – not only through greed but also in spite, the spite being that your daughters decided to live with their father rather than you. You used this money as a weapon against your own children.

“That was disgraceful conduct.”


The judge said that neither had shown any remorse and told Gerald Hill he would not be punished for “lies that you told so easily from the witness box” which the jury had “dismissed as preposterous”.

Gerald Hill previously claimed he had taken some of the money to give to his granddaughters, by placing it in envelopes and putting it through their doors.

Mr Bull said that Katherine Hill had been the instigator of the scam and had encouraged her father to take part “knowing he would be a willing patsy”.

The judge also raised concerns about where all the money had gone, saying it “appeared to have disappeared without trace” – without any signs of “high living”.


Barrister Matt Murphy, who spoke on behalf of Katherine Hill, said references given to the court showed her in a “polar opposite light”, having been trusted by the bank where she worked and was “considered by her colleagues to be trustworthy”.

Mr Murphy described the offence as a “one-off, unique scenario in her life” and insisted she was not proud of it and she had not shown a “lavish lifestyle”.

Speaking for Gerald Hill, Harry Dickens asked for his client not to be jailed due to his age and stressed he is not a risk to the public and is unlikely to re-offend.

Mr Dickens described Gerald Hill as effectively being under “house arrest”, with no family or friends who would talk with him following the offence.

Gemma and Jessica Thomas’s grandmother had placed the money in a trust, managed by their mother.

Katherine Hill then moved the money into a Barclays savings account, which allowed instant access, against the advice of a solicitor, to which she and her father had access.

The money was then removed from the account in large chunks, including one withdrawal for £15,000.

The fraud was only discovered in 2018 when one of the Thomas sisters asked to access her share of the funds early to help her buy a house with her boyfriend.

Victim impact statement

Jessica Thomas broke down in tears as she attempted to read a victim impact statement to the court.

The prosecutor, James Hartson, read it on her behalf.

She said: “When I try to put into words the emotions that arise when asked to discuss the crime against me and my sister by my mother and grandfather, I find it quite difficult.

“This is because I find it hard to understand how my family could have caused such hurt and pain to their own flesh and blood.”

Jessica Thomas said she has suffered “serious emotional and mental trauma” and she had required counselling through her teenage years and now struggles to form meaningful relationships.

She added: “The thought of my mother and grandfather finding it so easy to create such lies scares me and this has led to difficulties in other areas of my life.

“I find it difficult to make meaningful and trusting relationships in every area of my life since. This has been seriously damaging to my mental health.”

She said the money would have given her an opportunity few are lucky to receive, and it had been taken away from her.

Mr Hartson also read a statement on behalf of Gemma, which said the crime had affected her in “pretty much all aspects of my life”.

She said: “Emotionally, it’s made me have major trust issues, in my personal life it’s made the once outgoing, confident, happy person I was become someone who has developed serious anxiety.

“I have been let down and lied to by two people who are my blood and my family.”

She added: “Although I did have mixed feelings about getting them arrested because they are my family, I totally believe that myself and my sister have been exploited out of money.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.