Parents ‘lived beyond their means’
Friday 18th October 2013, 4:20PM BST.
The parents of a severely brain-damaged girl who allegedly used her £2.6 million compensation to fund a luxury lifestyle were “living beyond their means”, a court has heard.
Cathy Watson, 44, and Robert Hills, 49, are accused of stealing £500,000 from money awarded to their daughter, Samantha Svendsen.
Miss Svendsen, now 29, suffers from cerebral palsy and needs round-the-clock care after suffering brain damage due to medical negligence.
She was awarded compensation by Grimsby and Scunthorpe Health Authority in 2009.
But Doncaster Crown Court has heard that Hills, of Holly Mews, Grimsby, and Watson, of Heron Gate, Scunthorpe, allegedly spent some of the money on cars, jewellery and houses.
Today Hills, who is now divorced from Watson, admitted the couple had been “living beyond their means”.
The court heard that the couple had had an income of £117,000 a year without the compensation.
“Why couldn’t you live on that?”, Gordon Stables, defending Watson, asked Hills in the witness box today.
Hills replied: “I wish I had an answer to that sir. We were living beyond our means.”
Mr Stables asked him if it was about the luxury cars.
The court heard the couple had owned nine cars, including a Mercedes and an Audi A4.
Hills replied: “I would think that that was part of the issue, yes sir.”
Mr Stables claimed Hills would visit a nearby BMW showroom to look at the new cars with Watson.
“They were very familiar in there and you were a good customer,” Mr Stables asked Hills.
“Yes, we both were,” Hills replied.
Hills denied the couple had rows over new cars he had purchased and claimed they bought them together.
Watson has pleaded not guilty to four offences of theft and one of transferring criminal property at Doncaster Crown Court.
Hills has admitted four offences of theft.