Cumbria Crack

Doctor told police she didn’t make will behind back of elderly widow, court hears

Zholia Alemi

A JURY has heard that a doctor denied making a will “behind the back” of an elderly widow when she was quizzed by police over alleged criminal conduct.

Consultant psychiatrist Zholia Alemi is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. Alemi has denied five charges which allege both theft and fraud.

Alemi, 55, stands accused of trying to gain control of the £1.3 million estate of former Bank of England employee Gillian Belham after she was instructed through an NHS service to assess whether the pensioner was in control of her faculties in early 2016.

It is alleged that within just three months of what a prosecutor says was the pair’s first meeting, Alemi had “re-drafted” 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 in the sum of £300,000.

It is further alleged that proceeds from the sale of pensioner’s main residence, near Cockermouth, were to be “held in trust for the benefit of the defendant’s grandchildren”.

Today (TUES) a jury heard the summary of five interviews Alemi had with police during 2016. 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”; and insisted she never made any decisions without her knowledge. She spoke of being a “family friend” of Mrs Belham, whom she said she had met “around two years” before – but didn’t recall her being a patient.

When asked by an officer whether she had applied for power of attorney in the pensioner’s name, Alemi, of Scaw Road, High Harrington, replied: “Definitely not.”

Jurors heard 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.

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