A solicitor who plundered his elderly clients’ accounts and deprived charities of legacy monies has been struck off the roll.
Peter Philip Taylor, 66, was jailed for three years in April 2016 after taking a total of £370,000 from the estates of two vulnerable clients.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that Taylor, a director and compliance officer for Cheshire firm Nightingales Solicitors, exercised sole power of attorney over one client’s affairs and subsequently controlled the probate after her death.
Taylor used his position to defraud the main beneficiaries of her estate, including charities and others who substantial financial losses. He did similar with another client for smaller amounts of money.
In sentencing him at Chester Crown Court, His Honour Judge Woodward Taylor was ‘clearly in a position of a very high degree of trust at the time when you chose to do that, you fully knew what you were doing, you fully realised the seriousness of what you were doing’.
The judge added: ‘Your immediate work colleagues will feel betrayed and stained by your actions and your greed and dishonesty undermines the reputation of your profession as a whole.’
The court had accepted Taylor was genuinely remorseful and ashamed of his behaviour and was cooperating with the authorities in order that the victims would be recouped.
The tribunal said Taylor, a solicitor for 36 years, had planned his misconduct in what amounted to ‘greed’, and he had direct control and responsibility for his actions. As well as expressing his remorse and shame, the tribunal noted that he had apologised to both victims and staff at his firm.
As well as being struck off, Taylor was ordered to pay £2,500 in costs.