Disabled Man ‘Murdered By Carer For Inheritance’

A disabled man was murdered in his bed by his former care worker so she could obtain a £60,000 inheritance, a court was told.

Thelma Purchase is said to have recruited her son Lance Rudge, and his friend, Shane Edge, both 20, to murder Gregory Baker because she “wouldn’t wait” for the money he had promised her in his will.

Mr Baker, 61, was found suffocated at his cottage in the village of Alton, Staffordshire, by a carer paying a routine visit on June 16 last year.

The court heard how childhood polio left Mr Baker with weakness in his left arm and right leg, and he later developed muscular dystrophy, so carers would visit his cottage three times a day to help him with daily tasks.

Ms Purchase had been his main care worker, and remained his friend after she stopped working with him some years ago, jurors were told.

Mr Baker would give her substantial sums of money, once giving her around £1,500 to buy a Citroen Saxo, and also made her a beneficiary in his will, the court heard.

He also tutored all three of her children, coaching Lance Rudge in maths.

But it is alleged that Ms Purchase knew that she stood to inherit most of Mr Baker’s share of his cottage, worth around £74,000.

Jurors heard that Ms Purchase drove Edge to Mr Baker’s cottage – habitually left unlocked so his carers could visit – and waited while he suffocated Mr Baker.

Ms Purchase, 44, of Meir, Stoke on Trent, Lance Rudge, of the same address and Shane Edge, from Longton all deny murder.