Gambling away my life savings
My son blew £30,000 of my money gambling By JENNY JOHNSTON, Daily Mail Last updated at 11:30 31 May 2006 The young man in the dock was shaking - which was hardly surprising given the severity of his crime.
He was charged with seven counts of theft of a total of £30,000.
Every penny had been stolen from Stephen Richardson, a 45-year-old mortgage adviser.
Mr Richardson, the court heard, had been a woefully easy target.
In different circumstances, the victim in all this might have been jubilant to hear a stiff sentence passed.
As it was, Mr Richardson was distraught.
He watched the proceedings - and the look of terror on the accused's face - with mounting horror.
When it was over, he collapsed into his seat and tried to stem the tears.
For the young man who had so callously stolen from him was his oldest son Daniel - the boy he had described to everyone who would listen as "my best friend".
Would you forgive your child if they gambled with your money?
Tell us in reader comments below The Daniel Richardson he knew was a clever and conscientious young man who wanted to train as a solicitor - not a scheming and gambled away all my money thief capable of such wilful deception.
Yet, here he was, being sentenced to 200 hours' community service and publicly damned as a common criminal.
He had to be punished, but I prayed he would get a suspended sentence or community service - anything but jail.
I couldn't live with that, and he gambled away all my money have coped.
He is not a tough lad and would have been eaten alive in there.
He'd been stupid and he'd let us all down.
But I could never believe he was deliberately callous.
He simply got caught up in something that was bigger than he was.
I just wonder now how many gambled away all my money young people will do the same.
Only this week, another warning was issued about how, as a nation, we are being threatened by the menace of internet gambling.
One day, while his father was away and he 'needed' to get his hands on some money, he 'borrowed' his father's credit card.
He lost and 'borrowed' the card again to try to win the first sum back.
Before long, Daniel had run up a bill of some £30,000 and there was no way out.
The Richardsons repeatedly say they aren't the sort of family this thing happens to.
As a mortgage adviser and property developer, Stephen is prudent with the family finances.
He and his wife Julie, Daniel's stepmum, live in a £350,000 modern four-bedroom, detached house in Darwen, Lancashire.
Daniel, his son from his first marriage, rents continue reading house nearby, but is a frequent guest, often babysitting for his half-sisters Rebekah, 12, and Johanna, nine.
Last October, when Stephen and Gambled away all my money went on a short break to Amsterdam for their 12th wedding anniversary, Daniel looked after his sisters.
The day after his father's return, Daniel woke him and asked him to turn on the family computer.
By the time he did, the front door had closed and Daniel was gone.
It said: 'Dad I've done something awful, something bad has happened.
Look at the two letters in your briefcase.
I want to get these feelings off my chest.
It started the usual way.
I love you all and I am hurting because people love me so much.
I am a bad person.
I was gobsmacked, but suddenly it gambled away all my money started to fall into place.
I had got angry with them - and told them they had made a mistake.
It was the last I heard of it.
After that phone call, Daniel had apparently changed the billing address to his own so I was none the wiser.
Daniel's letter went on to say that he had wanted to pay his mum back some money he owed, how he dreamed of being able to pay for a golf membership for me and a holiday for us in Florida.
This was his last chance to win big time and he had blown it.
I started to cry when I read that he knew he would go to prison.
He told me to phone him at 4pm and expected me to report him to the police.
slot coupons chukchansi was terrified he had gone and done something stupid.
At that I didn't even think about the money.
I was thinking about Daniel.
He and his wife phoned every friend they could think of, but there were no clues.
Eventually, distraught, they called the police.
He looked so sad it broke my heart.
For this was not the first appearance of Daniel's gambling problem.
But first time round, Stephen thought the family could deal with it.
When Daniel was 17, he lost £1,500 to an older friend at snooker.
As soon as he turned 18, he applied for credit cards, then withdrew cash to repay his debt.
Then, he squandered the rest of the credit on his card trying to win back gambled away all my money money.
His mother, Grace, an estate agent, bailed him out to the tune of £7,000.
Stephen says: "I would prefer him to have defaulted on the loans, then he would not have been able to get credit for a while.
But Grace was doing her best.
He should have had some spare cash, but there was little evidence of it.
Maybe I should have clicked that he was gambling every penny.
He arranged for Daniel's wage to be paid into his account - and gave him 'pocket money' as and when he needed it.
I thought it was working.
Daniel was deeply embarrassed about his gambling.
It was like a shameful secret and, video slots play video slots fun back, it was wrong.
Nobody ever mentioned his gambling.
It was like a dirty word.
We all hoped it would go away.
We'd never heard of him going on the internet to gamble.
But when they were in bed, he logged on to the internet and visited various gambling websites.
By his side were his father's credit cards.
I couldn't decide what to feel more - pity turns! all in slot machine think anger.
He was a bright lad, passed nine GCSEs at his state school and had an HND in electrical engineering.
He placed bets on anything from a football match to the flip of a coin.
But I was also in a dilemma.
What were we going to do about it?
We couldn't just ignore this one - the figures were too high.
Julie admits: "It felt as if our world had caved in.
Daniel is very much part of our family and I love him.
Would he go to jail?
That would have been too much for all of us.
It was a terrible choice.
I could either lose £30,000 or prosecute my son.
I spoke to the police and they assured me a custodial sentence was very, very unlikely as long as he pleaded guilty.
Neither of us knew what to do for the best and the stress was unbearable.
Even Daniel agreed that it was the "right thing to do".
Five days before his appearance before Blackburn magistrates, the police had some unwelcome news.
I felt we had been duped.
I was sick to the stomach and tried to withdraw my complaint, but was told it was too late.
When we heard that he wouldn't be going to jail, we hugged each other.
Stephen would be the first to admit that he doesn't understand his son's addiction.
I like to take calculated risks, like buying houses, doing them up and selling them on.
It is soulless and secretive.
At least if you go to a bookies' you have some form of social interaction.
But gambling on the internet is a dirty little secret, like pornography.
They made it easy for him.
Because you don't have cash in your hand it feels as if it's not your money.
With the click of a button you can be gambling tens of thousands.
For someone like Daniel, that's very hard to resist.
Stephen admits: "Daniel hates talking about it, but I feel it helps.
Being a mortgage broker, it sounds crazy that I have told clients my son has stolen £30,000 from me.
That is my way of dealing with it.
Some have said 'Have you disowned him?
He does not have a computer all jackpots casino no deposit bonus codes 2019 home, something his father seems to be clinging to as evidence that he is indeed trying to change.
I don't know," admits Stephen.
An addiction is an addiction - we've had to accept that now.
I haven't even asked him that question because I don't know if he could answer.
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