A carer who forged an elderly woman’s will before starving her vulnerable live-in landlord son to death in a bid to inherit his £1.5 million estate has been jailed for 28 years today.
Lynda Rickard, 62, was found guilty of murder after the jury heard she deliberately deprived landlord James ‘Anthony’ Sootheran, 59, of food, drink, and medical care to the point that he starved to death.
She then placed the skeletal body of father-of-one Mr Sootheran next to a plate of chocolate bars, a doughnut and a bag of McDonalds that looked ‘fresher than him’ at his Oxfordshire farmhouse.
Rickard and her husband Wayne moved into a beautiful farm house set on 60 acres owned by Mr Sootheran in 2006, with the deal being that 62-year-old Lynda would care for his aging mother, Joy.
Despite receiving £47,000 a year in her caring role, she started using Joy’s money as her own and forged her will so that she stood to get the bulk of her million pound estate.
When issues arose regarding the validity of Joy’s will after her death, mother-of-three Lynda turned to forging Mr Sootheran’s will to benefit from his fortune.
The jury heard how Mr Sootheran led a ‘reclusive’ life, and Rickard took advantage of his vulnerabilities, isolating him and keeping family and friends at arm’s length.
Behind closed doors and out of sight of loved ones, the carer was able to deliberately deprive Anthony of food, drink, and medical care to the point that he starved to death.
Just 18 months after elderly Joy died having suffered with dementia, the skeletal body of her son was discovered.
Rickard’s husband, former US Air Force engineer Wayne was toda jailed for 10-and-a-half years for allowing the death of a vulnerable person.
In his younger years, retired auctioneers clerk Mr Sootheran weighed 17 stone but the frail body discovered on March 18 2014 was almost half the size of his former self – weighing a meager nine stone.
Carer Lynda Rickard, who deliberately starved her live-in landlord to death to inherit a slice of his multimillion-pound estate, was convicted of murder today after his skeletal body was found next to a plate of McDonald’s
Lynda Rickard and her husband Wayne moved into a Oxfordshire farmhouse set on 60 acres of land owned by James ‘Anthony’ Sootheran (pictured) in 2006
The 62-year-old cared for his aging mother Joy Sootheran, but despite receiving £47,000 a year in her role, she soon started using the woman’s money as her own.
Mother-of-three Lynda had previously admitted forging the will of Ms Sootheran, in an attempt to gain half of her £1.5million estate.
She also admitted to manufacturing the will of Mr Sootheran, the pensioner’s only son.
She claimed that Mr Sootheran’s death was entirely coincidental to her having forged his will, saying it was the consequence of his own self-neglect.
However, on Friday a jury convicted her of murder. Her husband was convicted of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult and one count of fraud and perverting the course of justice.