A former financial adviser who took more than £12,000 from her partner’s dying relative has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Victoria Micunovic, 67, of Solesbridge Close, Chorleywood, had been caring for the 83-year-old man after he came out of hospital.

But in a two month period, she used his Barclays debit card on a gambling site, and made purchases at shops, including John Lewis, St Albans Crown Court heard on Friday.

Prosecutor Charles Judge said: "There were a number of transactions in December 2016 and January 2017. The total value was £12,433."

He said the bank manager had become concerned about money going out of the account of the man, who died in March 2017.

A review of the account showed around £10,000 had gone onto a online gambling account. £658 had been spent at John Lewis.

Before the 83-year-old man died, he told the police he had not given permission for his debit card to be used in the way it had.

In police interviews, Micunovic said the elderly man had owed her money.

Mr Judge said following the man’s death, his estate went to his sister, who was the mother of Micunovic’s partner. She died and the money was passed to Micunovic's partner and his sister.

The prosecutor asked for a compensation order to be made in favour of the sister in the half the sum that was taken. The defendant’s partner, who is still with her, is not asking for any compensation, he said.

Micunovic appeared for sentence having been convicted at the magistrates’ court of fraud by false representation. She had no previous convictions.

Defending, Kevin Molloy said there were £1,600 in winnings from her gambling that had been refunded to the man’s account, reducing the loss.

He said: "She was acting as carer for him from July 16 until he went back into hospitals in January 2017. She is a pensioner herself and was providing genuine care."

Mr Molly said the “sorry episode” had lasted only a few weeks.

Recorder Debra Powell QC told Micunovic: "Over a short period of time you acted totally out of character. Your behaviour was totally unacceptable. He was a vulnerable man. You were in a position of trust."

She passed a 12 month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered her to pay £5,417 compensation to her partner’s sister and £1,200 prosecution costs.