Meg Wynn Owen (second from left) was a cast member of Upstairs, Downstairs and later Love, Actually. (Credit: Getty Images)
Love, Actually actress Meg Wynn Owen found herself forced to wear the clothes of deceased care home residents after her trusted power of attorney stole thousands of pounds from her. Meg, who died earlier this year, was living at the care facility while Brian Malam continued to steal money from her account.
The actress is known to British audiences for her role of Hazel Bellamy in the 1970s drama Upstairs, Downstairs. She went on to appear in some of Britain’s most iconic television shows and movies.
Later in life, Meg developed dementia and was moved into a care facility in 2015. Only a year prior to this, Malam was appointed her power of attorney.
Malam has now been convicted of stealing the money. Here’s everything you need to know about Meg Wynn Owen and Malam’s court case.
Who was Meg Wynn Owen?
Meg Wynn Owen was a Welsh actress born in 1939. Meg, born Margaret, appeared in a range of television shows and films from the 1960s onwards, as well as making appearances on stage.
Her most notable role came as Hazel Bellamy in Upstairs, Downstairs in the 1970s. However, newer audiences will also recognise her as the secretary of Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister in 2003’s ‘Love, Actually’.
She also went on to star in period dramas. This included the 2003 film adaptation of Vanity Fair, where she played Lady Crawley, and the 2005 Keira Knightly-led Pride & Prejudice adaptation, starring as Mrs Reynolds.
What happened to Meg Wynn Owen?
In 2014, Meg granted power of attorney to her friend and costume designer Brian Malam. At the time, the actress had been diagnosed with dementia.
One year later, Meg had been moved into a care home as her dementia developed. It was noted that Malam had started to visit Meg in the early days of her stay at the care facility, but that these visits began to wean off as time went on.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that Malam had abused his position as power of attorney. The court heard that he had set up a raft of bank transfers from Meg’s account to his own personal account, as well as direct spending from her account and cash withdrawals.
The alarm was raised by staff at the care home Meg had been staying at, with those looking after her noticing that she no longer had enough money to buy clothes. The actress was forced to wear the clothes of deceased residents, with staff also unable to pay for a haircut, leaving them to cut her hair themselves.
Staff alerted the bank to the unusual activity in her account, and were told to attend meetings at the bank to analyse her statements. Police were informed of the matter in 2020, two years before the actress passed away.
Malam has told police following his arrest that he had intended to pay Meg back the total of £65,000 he stole from her personal account. He added that he believed Meg wanted to leave the money to him after she passed away, therefore he wouldn’t have a problem taking it while she was in the care facility.
How long was Brian Malam sentenced to?
Mala was sentenced to 32 months in prison for his crimes. During the sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to fraud.
Andrew Davies, Malam’s lawyers, told the court that he and Meg had been close friends. He also pointed out that Malam used the money to prop up his costume design business rather than buy himself luxuries.
Upon his sentencing, Judge Paul Hobson told Malam that he had “betrayed” Meg through his actions. He added that