Heartbroken family disowns daughter who stole frail father’s £14,000 savings to fund gambling habit

James Wild before his death and as a young man
James Wild before his death and as a young man
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The heartbroken family of a great grandad who died weeks after discovering his daughter had stolen his savings have spoken publicly for the first time about their ordeal.

Respected special constable James Wild had devoted his life to serving the community, even winning a medal from the Chief Constable for his length of service.

The former RAF man, who worked as a carpenter, raised five children with his beloved wife Jean, and had helped one of his daughters, Jakaline, financially, when she was struggling with a baby.

But Preston Crown Court heard how the 55-year-old repayed her father’s kindness with the ultimate betrayal.

As the widower spent 12 months in and out of hospital being treated for a C-difficile infection, the mum-of-one helped herself to £14,000 from his accounts.

Using two bank cards she had been entrusted with by her elderly father to pay for his shopping and bills, unemployed Wild squandered the cash on her gambling addiction, frequenting the Leisuretime Amusements in Cleveleys.

Her family had even believed she was working at the premises having seen her having a cigarette at the entrance on several occasions.

As Jakaline Wild, of Waring Drive, Thornton, begins a 15-month jail sentence, Mr Wild’s son-in-law, Andy Young, 58, today recalled the harrowing moment the family collectively visited a stunned Mr Wild at his hospital bedside in the Blackpool Victoria Hospital, to show him the bank statements that highlighted his daughter’s vile crimes.

The emotional visit was made by the defendant’s siblings – sister Wendy Young, from Cleveleys, brother Alan with his wife Karen who live in Thornton, and sister Gail with her husband David from Layton.

Andy recalls: “It was absolutely heartbreaking. We visited my father-in-law in hospital to tell him together.

“We passed him the bank statements and he looked at them and said: “’Leave it with me.’

“He was a man who showed little emotion but we could tell he was gutted.

“It took him six weeks to decide what to do but he decided to go to the police.”

Tragically Mr Wild, who was in his 80s, passed away in October last year from a heart attack, three months after making the heartbreaking decision to make a statement to police about the theft.

Andy adds: “He had spoken to her about it in a phone call. But he never saw her again before he died.

“She didn’t know he had died or go to his funeral because we didn’t tell her after what she did.

“The family has disowned her.”

The family first suspected Jakaline early in 2017 after another daughter had realised her poorly father’s finances were dwindling.

Wild had intercepted his bank statements so they had to visit the bank in a bid to find out what was going on.

Andy adds: “We actually confronted her in the arcade, we knew she was in there and until then we thought she worked there.

“We didn’t know about the gambling problem.

“Since then it’s come to light that she has been evicted from her shared ownership house. The withdrawals had been made from the TSB close to the arcade.

“She just said: ‘I’ve been stupid.’”

However any remorse was short lived.

Preston Crown Court heard Wild denied the theft in a police interview, even suggesting her father was not of sound mind, and claiming she thought she was ‘being good to’ her father by looking after his bank cards.

But she later pleaded guilty to committing theft between March 1, 2016 and June 11, 2017.

Prosecuting, Mercedah Jabbari said Mr Wild had been a family man who helped his children out financially.

Defending, Paul Robinson said his client, who is of previous good character, had attended Gamblers Anonymous meetings in a bid to get help.

Wild cried as Recorder David Swinnerton told her he could not suspend her 15-month jail sentence, and told her the distress caused to her family aggravated the case.

He said: “Your father was a vulnerable person.

“It was a sustained period of 15 months. It is easy to understand how this made them feel, but you didn’t stop for a moment to think about that.

“This was no way for your father to end his life, having to think his daughter had stolen from him.”

The family say they taken comfort from their belief Mr Wild has been reunited with Jean and their daughter Julie McKenna, who died tragically after a horse riding accident in 1980.