Jailed for three years, callous carer who stole £75,000 from Scots film writer to fuel his gambling addiction

The carer of a Scots Emmy award-winning film writer has been jailed after stealing more than £75,000 from him to fuel a gambling addiction.

Allan Beacham left celebrated Thunderbirds writer Alan Pattillo ‘betrayed, angry, and upset’ after plundering his finances despite being ‘entrusted’ to care for him, a judge said.

While living in a house bought for him by the late Mr Pattillo, Beacham stole thousands from the blind and immobile pensioner to ‘dig himself out of the hole’ he had created through gambling.

The court previously heard how ‘controlling and coercive’ Beacham, 66, had spent £25,000 on lottery tickets and would regularly steal cash from the ‘vulnerable pensioner’ to fuel his addiction.

Beacham, right, left screenwriter Alan Patillo feeling 'betrayed, angry and upset'

Beacham, right, left screenwriter Alan Patillo feeling 'betrayed, angry and upset'

After £75,000 had gone missing out of Mr Pattillo’s finances, ‘dishonest’ Beacham was unable to offer any ‘real explanation for the unaccounted funds’, prosecutors said.

Beacham pleaded guilty to one charge of theft.

Sentencing him to three years and ten months in prison yesterday, Judge Adam Feest, KC, said: ‘You have deliberately targeted him on the basis of his vulnerability – that you were all too aware of.’

The judge said Mr Pattillo was left feeling ‘betrayed, angry and upset’ by what Beacham had done and was ‘humiliated’ that he had been ‘taken in’ by the carer. Mr Pattillo died aged 90 in 2020 after suffering from Parkinson’s.

The Scottish director and writer worked on a number of productions and directed the first ever episode of Thunderbirds in 1965.

His work on 1979 movie All Quiet on the Western Front saw him gain an Emmy Award for film editing.

After he retired he moved to Aberdeenshire and Beacham, who was then employed by care firm Miracle Workers, would visit his home to care for him.

Allan Beacham, 66, had spent £25,000 on lottery tickets

Allan Beacham, 66, had spent £25,000 on lottery tickets

Winchester Crown Court, Hants, heard that, in 2017, Mr Pattillo moved to Salisbury, Wiltshire, to be closer to his family and brought Beacham as his full-time carer.

Beacham earned a £40,000 salary and agreed to move to Salisbury ‘on the condition’ that Mr Pattillo bought him a house to reside in.

The carer abused his power by requesting money from Mr Pattillo’s lawyers to pay for expenses.

Thomas Evans, prosecuting, previously told jurors that when Mr Pattillo moved to Salisbury his average monthly cash expenditure jumped from £258 to £4,607.

He added: ‘[Beacham] developed an addiction to gambling and continually sought to dig himself out of the hole he had made by stealing from a vulnerable pensioner who had entrusted his care to him.’

The court heard that between January 1 in 2017 and June 1 in 2019, £75,000 was unaccounted for.

Beacham’s employment was terminated in May 2019.

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