Justice has been done for dad
Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date online: 06 February 2014
A DETERMINED son has won a long legal battle to reclaim more than £50,000, stolen from his father by his own grandson.
John Bowden spent months trying to get the cash back following the death of his 73-year-old dad, also John.
John senior’s cash was stolen over several months by his grandson, Michael Lee Howes.
Howes, who was living with his grandfather in Regent Crescent, Failsworth, stole over £50,000 from a bank account by setting up online banking in his grandfather’s name and withdrawing large amounts for clothes, nights out and expensive holidays.
At the time his grandfather was in hospital after a heart attack and too ill to pursue a case against him. But John junior, a roofer, was determined justice would be done. Halifax bank told him a conviction would result in the return of the money.
“It was hard getting the conviction and trying to pursue the case,” said John. “Everyone involved wanted to hear from my dad, but he was too ill to speak and they had to get everything from me.
“He was in hospital for a long time. He died on October 15 before the case could be completed.” Mr Bowden continued his late father’s fight, believing he bank would honour the agreement after his father’s death.
Howes (25) pleaded guilty to the theft at Oldham Magistrates’ Court on November 5 and was jailed for 21 months in December.
John found the fight wasn’t over and spent another month with the bank trying to get back his father’s money back: “I visited the Oldham branch countless times but they told me they wouldn’t pay out as my father had died. The money was meant to be an inheritance for the family and we wanted to make sure it went to the right people.”
John contacted several organisations but it was only after the Chronicle stepped in to help that things started to change.
He said: “People started listening to me and taking things seriously. You just have to keep pushing and pushing to get anywhere.”
Mr Bowden junior was eventually told the money would be repaid to his father’s account.
“The whole fight has been a nightmare; everything at the bank has just been handled terribly,” he said.
“They didn’t inform my dad something was wrong and it got to this stage, leaving us with all these problems to sort so justice could be done.”
A Halifax spokesman apologised for the level of service Mr Bowden received and confirmed £51,583 had been reinstated to the account. The bank will also offer an “appropriate recognition” for distress and inconvenience.
John Bowden died following unexpected complications after major and complex surgery, an inquest heard.
Mr Bowden was taken to the Royal Oldham Hospital by his grandson after suffering a heart attack in June 2013.
The 73 year old was transferred to Wythenshawe hospital to undergo several complex procedures, which proved successful.
But surgeon Ayyaz Ali said Mr Bowden suffered a rare complication when a hernia twisted his stomach.
Mr Bowden had surgery and began to recover, but suffered a lung collapse and an antibiotic-resistant infection.
His health continued to deteriorate and Mr Bowden died on October 15 last year
Giving a narrative verdict, senior coroner Nigel Meadows said doctors caring for Mr Bowden went “above and beyond the call of duty” in trying to get the best for their patient.
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Bowden’s son, John Bowden junior, said: “The outcome was what pretty much what I expected. It is better to know exactly what happened. It has answered a lot of the questions I came with.”
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