A MAN who owned a home carers’ business has been jailed for three-and-a-half years after he admitted swindling an elderly couple out of more than £100,000.

David Coughlin, 47, had used £2,000 of their money to pay the deposit on a Range Rover Evoque.

He had also bought wine and meals in pubs, paid £9,000 of his credit card bill and spent £9,000 on building work at his home.

Coughlin pleaded guilty to 26 fraud charges. The prosecution did not proceed with an allegation involving a £200,000 cheque which he claimed was a loan to him.

The house he bought at Lyneal in Shropshire will be sold as part of a Proceeds of Crime order.

Barrister Simon Rogers, prosecuting, told Mold Crown Court that John Davies, 92, and devoted wife Monica, 88, had lived next door to the village church at Bronington on the Wales-Shropshire border but in 2014 the couple's health had deteriorated and Mrs Davies had been diagnosed with dementia at one stage.

A friend had introduced Coughlin, who owned Ellesmere Home Care, to the pensioners and his firm provided care for them.

Eventually he became a signatory on their joint account but Mr Rogers said the couple went into a nursing home at Ellesmere in Shropshire in 2016.

Police were called in after a solicitor acting for them discovered a £75,000 transfer to Coughlin's account.

The barrister said a dining table and chairs, a toy helicopter, paint, tiles and fence panels were also bought by the fraudster.

The alleged benefit amount was £314,000. Mr Rogers said £231,000 was available.

Defence barrister Paul Smith said Coughlin had not set out to fleece the elderly. "He's lost his career and business which he has built up," he said.

Judge David Hale told Coughlin, now of Talbot Street, Ellesmere, that he was "brazen" and had used the Davies' money to modernise the house at Lyneal to a "lovely" standard.

"They were in a house heated by coal fires with a Bentley car rusting in the garage," the judge said.

They lived in a large, rambling old-fashioned vicarage with very few modern amenities, the judge told Coughlin.

"You were with them many days for two years. You must have seen their deterioration, physical and mental.

"At one stage Mrs Davies was assessed with dementia and her husband was going more frail."

Judge Hale added: "Anyone in your position has a high degree of trust and you broke that trust. You cheated these two elderly, vulnerable people."