The widow of a 7/7 London bombing victim is facing jail for blowing £50,000 compensation left to her son on a luxury lifestyle including four new cars, seven Chihuahuas and a jacuzzi.
Louise Gray, 42, from Ipswich, Suffolk, has admitted squandering the money which was left to her son Adam, following the death of her husband Richard in the terrorist attack.
Adam was just 11-years-old when his father was killed in the suicide bomb attack on a Tube train near Aldgate station in 2005.
He was awarded the money to secure his financial future and entrusted his mother to look after it until he needed the cash.
However, Ipswich Crown Court heard how she blew it on a lavish lifestyle – including two Volkswagen Beetles, a convertible, a people carrier, several shopping sprees at Selfridge’s and dinner at the Ritz.
When Adam asked for the money last year to help finance a move to London and an apprenticeship, she confessed it was all gone.
He said he had ‘no choice’ but to take legal action.
He said: ‘I supported the police’s investigation. Justice needs to be served.
‘It’s been more than a year since I confronted mum over stealing my compensation and she’s never shown any real remorse or made any attempts to pay me back.
‘That money was supposed to safeguard my future but she’s left me penniless. I’ve lost my dad and now I’ve lost my mum.’
Tax manager Richard, 41, was one of seven passengers killed on a Circle line train by Bradford-born suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority later gave £250,000 to Louise, £50,000 to Adam and £100,000 to his sister Ruby, now 16.
The money for the children was put in trust funds until they were 18.
But Adam claimed the cash changed his mother and she quit her carer’s job before embarking on a life of indulgence – splashing out on a jacuzzi for the family home and seven Chihuahua dogs.
When he was given access to his £50,000 payout on turning 18 in July 2012, Adam was worried he would not be able to cope with such a large amount and asked his mother to look after it for him.
He made her promise she would not spend the money before entrusting her with the funds.
However, just 18 months later – when he asked for the money to fund a move to London, an apprenticeship and eventually a move abroad – his mother confessed she had spent it.
After discovering the betrayal, Adam took her to civil court and, in June this year, was awarded a £43,750 payout.
His mother appealed unsuccessfully against the ruling and then refused to reimburse her son.
Police became aware of Adam’s plight and Louise’s refusal to comply with the civil order made her eligible for criminal prosecution.
She was charged with theft in September, which she admitted at court on Friday.
Recorder Simon Blackford adjourned sentencing until January for evidence of her finances and ability to repay the cash, but warned she could face jail.
After the hearing, charity worker Adam said he had no choice but to contact police and take legal action.
‘The police started looking into the case as soon as I took my mother to the civil court,’ he said.
‘They believed it was a criminal case too because it was effectively theft. She had stolen from me and then tried to hide it.
‘I received a call out of the blue from a police officer telling me the case had been passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service and it was likely it would go to court.
‘I felt confusion when the police told me she could face a prison sentence if found guilty. But at the same time, I wanted some justice for what she had done to me.’
He added: ‘She never showed me any remorse and she made me feel as if everything was my fault.
‘It is a very confusing time for me and I am just trying to digest everything.
‘The police have told me that she may receive a custodial sentence.
‘Although it is hard to think of your own mother going to prison because of a crime she has committed against you, I believe that I deserve some form of justice.
‘It’s quite unbelievable really.
‘Hopefully she will be forced to pay me the money now.
‘But I should not have had to go to such extreme lengths.
‘Sadly, she left me no choice.’