A former Perth charity worker has tearfully told the District Court she did not steal almost $140,000 from her Alzheimer’s-affected mother.
- Siham Carollisen had access to her parents’ $270,000 divorce settlement
- The prosecution claims she spent $140,000 on a range of luxuries for herself
- She has argued she used much of the money to help care for her ill mother
Siham Carollisen, 33, once provided food, clothing, bedding and moral support to the homeless through the Brothers and Sisters Perth charity she founded with her brother.
But today she took the stand in her trial on 10 counts of stealing from her mother, Amina Carollisen, who died almost three years ago.
The court has been told that between July 2014 and June 2015, Ms Carollisen spent almost $270,000 of her mother’s money.
Ms Carollisen explained how in the lead-up to and during this period, she was “extremely stressed out”.
She had two children under the age of two and her then husband, who was the sole income earner, sustained a brain injury from a motorcycle crash in February 2014.
On top of this, her mother — who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in August 2012 and was living with her — was pacing the house at night and becoming distressed by her grandchildren’s crying by day.
Siham Carollisen (r) told the court she and her mother were very close. (Facebook: Siham Carollisen)
Money came from $270,000 house sale
Ms Carollisen said her mother had told her at a family birthday dinner in March 2012, that the proceeds of a divorce settlement between her parents were hers to use as she needed.
She said that she and her mother were extremely close.
“We were best friends,” she said.
In July 2014, Ms Carollisen transferred the $270,000 proceeds of the family home, sold as part of the divorce settlement, to a joint bank account held by herself and her husband.
She told the court that she used the money for her mother’s care, including buying a bigger car, paying for a private carer and also ensuring she had regular visits to the hairdresser and massages, and top-quality walking shoes.
Siham Carollisen told the court she was very stressed out at the time of the alleged theft. (ABC News: Rebecca Turner)
But under questioning from state prosecutor Ryan Arndt, she said the spa outings also included massages for herself.
The state has argued Ms Carollisen spent about $140,000 of her mother’s money on herself — including on jewellery, expensive dinners and tickets to events — rather than on caring for her mother.
The trial has been set down for five days.