A Wellington real estate agent who defrauded a 92-year-old
woman out of $171,269 "loved her like a mother", court
Pat William Walker, 58, appeared yesterday in the Greymouth
District Court and was remanded on bail for sentencing in
Wellington next month. But his victim, Edith Cavell South -
having died in December 2011 - will not see justice served.
Walker yesterday admitted the lead charge of breaching her
trust by defrauding Mrs South of $70,000. Crown prosecutor
Phil Shamy then withdrew another 33 charges in relation to
Walker's use of his victim's chequebook and eftpos card.
The summary showed that Walker met Mrs South, who was born in
Dunollie, in Wellington in the late 1990s when he acted for
her in property deals.
They became friends and, upon the death of Mrs South's
husband, he gained her trust and was granted power of
attorney over her affairs.
In November 2007, Mrs South sold her property in Wellington,
receiving $181,000, which was deposited in her ANZ bank
account. She then made arrangements with Walker to purchase a
property at Dick Street, Reefton for $70,000.
The property was owned by one of Walker's real estate
colleagues in Wellington.
Mrs South moved in, and paid for repairs to the house but
eventually after three years learned she had no legal claim
to the property because her $70,000 check had been banked
into Walker's own account. By then Walker's dishonesty had
left her penniless.
In addition Walker also had $6000 of Mrs South's money paid
into his brother's account and used other cheques, to
purchase goods or services from a variety of businesses or
pay bills or rentals in the name of his West Coast company,
Scenicland Realty, which operated out of the Professionals
agency in Greymouth.
In total he stole $171,269 from the pension's account.
When arrested, Walker told police he loved Mrs South like his
In April 2011, the Real Estate Agents Authority struck Walker
Mrs South's fortunes picked up in mid-2011 when the
Professionals, the real estate agency Walker had been
associated with, reimbursed her the $70,000 and the Mad
Butcher franchise bought a house in Reefton for her to live
in rent-free for the rest of her days.
However, her tenure was just five months. Mrs South died on
December 19, 2011 and was laid to rest in Reefton on
Lawyer Doug Taffs asked yesterday that the sentencing take
place in Wellington because Walker resided there.
"The victim has passed away and has no family on the West
Coast. I believe the nearest is in Australia, so there is no
particularly personal reason why it should be here in
Despite Walker's offending, Judge Raoul Neave indicated that
he would not be jailed, but would receive an electronically
He will be sentenced in Wellington on March 28.
- The Greymouth Star