A solicitor has been warned he faces a jail term after admitting defrauding a vulnerable elderly woman out of more than £50,000.

Michael Edward Rigg yesterday admitted three counts of fraud by abuse of position by taking £51,488 out of the accounts of Jessie Robinson between September 2007 and July last year.

Now the 60-year-old must wait until next month to see if he will be sent to jail, but was told by Judge Robert Bartfield a custodial sentence was likley, although he would not be passing the sentence himself.

“The sentencing judge will inevitably look at imprisonment as the likely sentence, but it is up to the judge on the day to decide,” Judge Bartfield said.

Earlier, Leeds Crown Court heard how Rigg, of Carlton Mount, Yeadon, had power of attorney over Mrs Robinson’s accounts and took the money in three tranches of £10,571, £13,502 and £27,415.

The court was told how Rigg was due to be a beneficiary of Mrs Robinson's will and was expecting to receive about half of her estate.

However, Rigg took the money, which was due to be used to cover nursing care costs for Mrs Robinson.

Mark Foley, mitigating for Rigg, said his client had carried out a “dishonest removal” of the money for his own use. He also said Rigg has several medical issues which need assessing, but is of previous good character.

Judge Bartfield adjourned sentencing until Thursday, March 22, for a pre-sentence report to be completed.

The judge also asked for a medical report to be completed for Rigg, who was wearing a dark suit and tie and spoke only to confirm his name and plead guilty three times during the hearing.

An online guide to legal services claims Rigg has been a solicitor for 35 years.

He was released on unconditional bail.