John Goddard’s bank account had been drained before his death
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A carer stole tens of thousands of pounds from a man with special educational needs who she was paid to look after.
John Goddard's dying wish of being buried with his parents was dashed because Ann Sherman almost emptied his bank account.
While Ann was supposed to be looking after John at her Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire home, she was secretly using his money to buy holidays to Germany and France.
By the time his sister Sue Knowles discovered Ann had also been lavishing herself with £800 monthly Asda shops, as well as more than £100 in a Belgium tobacco store, almost all of his life savings had gone.
For the final few months of his life John, 67, who was registered blind, could only afford to wear clothes bought from charity shops.
Sue Knowles is speaking out about the fraud following her brother's death
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After he suddenly died Sue was forced to scatter his ashes at the graveyard where their parents were laid to rest, despite his dying wish of being buried with them.
On Friday Sherman was sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud at Aylsbury Crown Court.
Sue told The Mirror: "I never relished the idea of getting her sent to prison, but if someone does something like this they have to face the consequences.
"I hate her for what she did and the mental trauma it caused to us as a family, but justice has now been done."
John, who was adopted as a child along with Sue, had lived in various care set-ups since his mum died 23 years ago.
In 2014 he was moved into Sherman's home as part of a council funded programme called Shared Lives.
Sue was never happy about the move, which she only learned about after it had taken place.
It then took her two months to track down the address of Sherman's house.
When she called John, who was unable to have a mobile phone, he told her "I thought you didn't love me anymore".
Things only got worse from there when John started losing both money and weight.
When Sue visited him on his 65th birthday in 2018 she noticed how skinny he had become.
"A couple of members of the family sent him cards with money in," she recalled.
"He said 'I better put that somewhere safe, because I keep losing my money'."
Several months later John became very ill with a severe lung infection and was rushed to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where he spent four weeks in intensive care.
Despite Sue's fears John, who had lost several stone before being admitted to hospital, pulled through after a litre of fluid was drained from his lungs.
He was moved from Stoke Mandeville to a new home in time for Christmas 2018, where he was immediately much happier, his sister said.
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It was when Sue contacted Sherman asking for John's bank statements as part of his transfer that the fraud first came to light.
"The first thing I noticed was towards the end of March he bought a car with a debit card," Sue said.
"Some months there was £800 in Asda shopping bills.
"There were also holidays to Germany and France, and oil for the central heating."
The statements also showed money had been spent on a new bathroom and a games console, which John could not use because of his sight issues.
The disabled man's savings had been almost completely drained, leaving him with just enough to buy new clothes from charity shops when he began regaining the lost weight.
"He wanted to have a holiday but he didn’t have the money," Sue said.
"He wasn’t totally aware at the amount of money taken.
"I kept him slightly in the dark on that as he trusted everyone and would have been so hurt if I told him.
"As soon as I got his money sorted I would take him on a holiday, I decided."
Sadly before Sue could get his finances in order and book the getaway John fell suddenly and badly ill.
On March 27, 2020 he died in his sleep.
Sherman was sentenced at Aylsbury Crown Court
(Image: PA Archive/PA Images)
A coroner's inquest found the cause of death was not clear, but was possibly sudden death syndrome triggered by his epilepsy.
"In a way the March lockdown helped because my brother had asked to be buried with my mum and dad, but to be honest we didn’t have enough money to do that," Sue said.
"I had to arrange a non attended cremation.
"He wasn’t perfect bless him, he had his faults, but he had a beautiful heart and is sadly missed by us all."
Months after Sue reported the missing money to Thames Valley Police Sherman was arrested and charged with fraud, along with her husband.
The carer's arranged plea date in October was pushed back to November after the 63-year-old's husband died.
Sherman, of Mill Road, pleaded guilty to fraud and stealing £20,000, although Sue suspects the true figure is higher.
After the sentencing on Friday Sue said: "There are lots of special need adults out there who don’t have families either still alive or who care.
"Even after his death my brother needed justice to be done."
Angela Macpherson, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Buckinghamshire Council, said: "These cases are rare but even one is one too many.
"They inevitably cast a shadow over the many thousands of care workers who have, and still do, work so tirelessly to support vulnerable people across Buckinghamshire.
"Especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
"It’s great to see that these callous actions were uncovered and that justice has been served."