THE PARENTS of a convicted fraudster are living in utter devastation after their daughter scammed more than £325k from her family and an older woman she cared for.

On Monday, October 11, Claire Roughley, of Newfields, Eccleston, was sentenced to six years in prison for four counts of theft and one count of fraud.

Beginning in January 2014, Roughley took control of her parent’s bank accounts without their permission and robbed them out of their entire life savings to fund an "all consuming gambling addiction".

Using her knowledge of working as a bank manager, Roughley sent fake bank statements, bought a fake bank domain, and used a fake bank assistant named “Gemma” to ask legitimate security questions and assure her parents there were no problems with their finances.

Carrying on the act of deceit until her arrest in March 2020, she stole a total of £91,437.83 out of her father's account and £158,738.70 from her mother.

In written statements read to Liverpool Crown Court, her parents explained that their "life is in tatters" as they come to terms with the reality of their daughter's crimes.

As the truth eventually came out, Raymond Roughley, 64, said he and his wife "cried in each other’s arms [...] as [their] whole world turned upside down".

Oblivious to any fraudulent activity and trusting his daughter whole-heartedly, Raymond, who had spent his life working as a gardener at St Helens Council, was in complete shock when bailiffs came knocking at his house, stripping him of his assets.

As the defendant sat with her head down in the dock, her father's statement questioned: "What did we do to deserve this? [...] How could Claire do this to me and come and see me every day?".

St Helens Star: Roughley was sentenced at Liverpool Crown CourtRoughley was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court

Similarly, after working her entire life and spending years caring for her elderly mother with dementia, Delwyn Roughley's "whole world fell apart" as she realised what her daughter - described as her "best friend" - had done.

She was devastated to learn that Roughley, who read out a eulogy at her grandmother's funeral in 2019, also scammed £58,221 from her accounts and estate after she passed away, while her funeral remained unpaid for 10 months.

Delwyn's statement read: "How could she do that to me and her grandmother? I should think of happy memories of her life [...] but every time I go to her grave I cry."

Although the banks have repaid some of the money lost, as Roughley's crimes were committed over a number of years and often made via complicated insurance policies, the couple have not been able to recoup all of their losses and are still thousands of pounds out of pocket.

In addition to this loss and the terrible credit score it has created, the events have had a serious and lasting impact on the family who never thought Roughley was capable of such acts.

A source close to the family said: "The situation is horrendous, but the family just want to make sure nobody else goes through what they have gone through. Any person that is vulnerable or doesn't understand internet banking should be vigilant and check their accounts with their bank.

"Something also has to change with the bank systems and gambling companies. It's unbelievable as no red flags were highlighted with thousands of pounds repeatedly being deposited from these accounts."