Love, Actually star 'reduced to dressing in dead people's clothes' after being conned out of life savings by a friend

23 November 2022, 16:44

Meg Wynn Owen
Meg Wynn Owen. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

An actress who starred in Love, Actually and Upstairs Downstairs was forced to wear dead people's clothes out of sheer poverty, having been conned out of her £65,000 life savings by her friend.

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Meg Wynn Owen, 82, whose real name was Margaret Wright, also had to have her hair cut by staff at the care home where she lived, after she was robbed of the money. She died earlier this year.

Brian Malam, 60, was jailed for two-and-a-half years for stealing the money from Ms Wynn, who suffered from dementia.

Meg Wynn Owen suffered from dementia
Meg Wynn Owen suffered from dementia. Picture: Getty

A court heard how Ms Wright and Malam became friends after working together on BBC TV shows including Dr Who, where he was a costume designer.

Ms Wright, who played the secretary to Hugh Grant's Prime Minister character on Love, Actually, gave him power of attorney and trusted him to pay the care home with her money - but he actually kept it to himself, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Abigail Jackson told the court that Malam's crimes were discovered by Ms Wright's bank when they noticed suspicious activity on her account.

Meg Wynn Owen in the Will Shakespeare mini-series in 1978
Meg Wynn Owen in the Will Shakespeare mini-series in 1978. Picture: Getty

She said: 'Mrs Wright became terribly upset about it. The matter was then reported to the police in September 2020.

"That's how the investigation with the police started and the matter came to light.

"The court heard Mrs Wright's Barclay's account was left with a £1,750.12 overdraft which was later written off by the bank. She had just £229.94 left in another account and just 72p and 21p in a third and fourth bank account.

Ms Jackson added: "The prosecution has now been made aware that very sadly the victim passed away in July this year."

Meg Wynn Owen
Meg Wynn Owen. Picture: IMDB

Malam spent much of the money on his own costuming business and on alcohol.

Judge Paul Hobson said Malam had been put in "an important position of trust carrying with it a great deal of responsibility."

The judge said: 'The position was that you were taking money from her bank account in significant funds and either transferring into your own account or spending it directly.

"As time went on you simply continued in what you were doing knowing full well the money would not be repaid realistically."

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The judge said that Ms Wright had to get care home staff to cut her hair because she had no money for a hairdresser.

Speaking to Malam, he added: "Your victim had to be dressed in clothes that belonged to deceased residents of her care home due to insufficient funds.

Brian Malam
Brian Malam. Picture: South Wales Police

"She was reduced by your actions towards her."

Malam pleaded guilty to fraud while occupying a position of trust and was jailed for two years and eight months. A proceeds of crime hearing will take place in March next year.

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