Workington psychiatrist accused of will fraud was ‘family friend’
Dr Zholia Alemi denies five charges of theft and fraud
A doctor accused of changing an elderly widow’s will to gain access to her £1.3m estate, has told a court she was helping her as a “family friend” whom she had met “about two years” before.
Carlisle Crown Court has heard Dr Alemi, 55, changed Gillian Belham’s will after meeting her at a dementia clinic in Workington, Cumbria.
Dr Alemi told police Mrs Belham asked her to have power of attorney.
It is alleged that within just three months of what a prosecutor said was the pair’s first meeting, Dr Alemi had “redrafted” Mrs Belham’s will so she was appointed executor of her estate and the main beneficiary under the document.
The changes, it is said, meant Alemi would have stood to inherit one of Mrs Belham’s homes – a Keswick cottage – and was to benefit under a trust to the sum of £300,000.
Jurors were given a summary of five police interviews with Dr Alemi in which she denied any wrongdoing.
She told an officer she had “helped with the finances” of Mrs Belham, who also asked the doctor to have power of attorney because “she didn’t want to go into a home”.
Dr Alemi also insisted she never made any decisions without the knowledge of Mrs Belham and did not recall Mrs Belham being a patient.
When asked by an officer whether she had applied for power of attorney in the pensioner’s name, Dr Alemi, of Scaw Road, High Harrington, replied: “Definitely not.”
Jurors heard Dr Alemi denied she had ever stolen anything from the pensioner, denied making a will “behind Gillian Belham’s back” or “forging any signatures”.
The trial continues.