PARENTS whose daughter stole and spent their life savings have spoken out to say they forgive her.

Melissa Fordham spent at least £130,000 of her parents’ money after she was left in charge of their finances.

She was sentenced to three years in prison after admitting 14 charges of fraud, theft and obtaining property by deception.

But now her parents Terence, 83, and Elizabeth Fordham, 73, have said they have forgiven her.

They said they want to talk about her recovery since her release from prison to demonstrate there is always a good side to everything.

Mr and Mrs Fordham sold their house for £225,000 in 2006, bought a motor home in which to travel and put their daughter, Melissa, in charge of their money to pay off any bills and debts while they were away travelling.

But Melissa spent at least £130,000 on “transient” items without their permission.

Mr and Mrs Fordham said they have now repaired their relationship with their daughter.

Mr Fordham said: “We have forgiven her and she is indebted to us in doing so.”

The couple, who now live in their motor home in Roseberry Tourist Park in Willingham, Cambridgeshire, said Melissa was moved from HMP Peterborough to East Sutton Park open prison in Maidstone, Kent, where she served most of her sentence.

They said from the moment she arrived at the open prison, she experienced a beautiful growth in character.

Gazette: TOGETHER - Melissa Fordham and her new partner Andy Bungay with her parents Terry and Elizabeth FordhamTOGETHER - Melissa Fordham and her new partner Andy Bungay with her parents Terry and Elizabeth Fordham

Mr Fordham said: “We arranged a meeting at the open prison which was only supposed to last for an hour but it went on for two and a half hours.

“When we met her in prison, she walked into the room and I didn’t know who she was. She walked up to me and I still didn’t know who she was.

“The wardens were with us as well as the probation officer and they both disappeared.

“They could see what was going on. They were there because they thought we were going to do some harm to her. We’re her parents, we’re not going to hurt her.

“She is a different person entirely. She has grown in stature, she’s much more confident than what she was. She’s happy.”

Gazette: Melissa Fordham with her mum ElizabethMelissa Fordham with her mum Elizabeth

Unfortunately, while her parents were forgiving, some other members of the family have not.

Mr Fordham added: “They can’t seem to accept what she’s done, where she’s been and how she’s come out the other side.

“It’s a pity they can’t accept what we’ve been through and how we’re trying to help her out.

“There is no doubt about it, the anxiety she caused us in the early stages for a period of probably 12 to18 months was extremely hard especially when you’ve got debt collectors ringing you up and demanding thousands of pounds which you don’t happen to have.

“She’s taken all of our money at one time. OK, she’s had to pay some of it back but we have to accept it.

“She’s our flesh and blood. She didn’t kill anybody, she didn’t hurt anybody, she just got us wound up.

"This is something I’ve wanted to speak about for a long time and I still wanted to be on this earth while it was being done.”