London - A doctor who was ‘motivated by pure greed’ has been jailed for trying to steal the £1.3 million fortune of her elderly dementia patient.
Consultant psychiatrist Zholia Alemi, 55, rewrote the will of frail widow Gillian Belham, 87, in an attempt to ‘strip her of everything she had’, including her two homes.
Alemi, the proud owner of a large champagne collection, discharged Mrs Belham from an NHS dementia service then set about ‘helping herself’ to her estate in a crime which the judge called ‘wicked’.
Within three months of meeting her, the top consultant had created a bogus will that left her poised to inherit Mrs Belham’s £300 000 Lake District bungalow, while the pensioner’s main home near Cockermouth, Cumbria would go to Alemi’s two grandchildren.
The doctor was yesterday jailed for five years after being unanimously convicted of four offences following a week-long trial at Carlisle Crown Court.
She had denied all the charges and lied to police in interviews, at one stage pretending not to know the identity of her own son, who was written into the will.
Jailing her, Judge James Adkin told Alemi: ‘This was despicable, cruel criminality motivated by pure greed and you must be severely punished for it.’
Jurors heard that Alemi ‘swept into’ Mrs Belham’s life after being asked to visit her home in February 2016 to assess if she needed social care or had dementia.
The senior psychiatrist claimed that Mrs Belham ‘did not require treatment’ from Workington NHS Hospital’s Memory Matters service, before ‘exploiting her role as a psychiatrist’ to gain Mrs Belham’s trust.
Alemi took out powers of attorney to control the pensioner’s medical and financial affairs, and drafted a will that gave her two US-based grandchildren any future proceeds from the sale of Mrs Belham’s home. When Mrs Belham, a former Bank of England employee, was asked if Alemi had assisted with her financial affairs, she told a detective: ‘I think she just helped herself.’
Jurors heard childless Mrs Belham’s extended family and a raft of charities were ‘entirely written out’ by the bogus will.
Instead the bulk of her £1.3million estate was bequeathed to the psychiatrist, who the pensioner knew only as ‘Julia’.
Alemi also stole Mrs Belham’s identity, setting up an email account in her name and intercepting all correspondence about the will.
She duped two of Mrs Belham’s elderly neighbours in Keswick, Cumbria, into providing signatures on a blank piece of paper which later appeared on the will without their knowledge.
Alemi gave no evidence to the trial but told a series of lies in police interviews, the jury heard.
She claimed Mrs Belham was a ‘family friend’ and initially denied knowing her own son, who was named on the fraudulent will.
Alemi insisted that the man was merely an ‘investment adviser’ she was introduced to online.
Eventually accepting he was her son, she stated he was ‘more of a business partner’, saying: ‘He was born by me.’Daily Mail