Carer jailed for two years after Â£20,000 theft from dementia-suffering vulnerable 89-year-old man
The carer who stole more than Â£20,000 from an elderly man has been sentenced to 28 months in prison.
Anthea Butcher, 40, was found to have betrayed trust and taken advantage of a frail and vulnerable man with dementia by using 89-year-old Steven Judd’s bank card to make purchases on Amazon, buy clothes, food, takeaways, alcohol and e-cigarettes, as well as to make large cash withdrawals.
The total loss taken over a sustained two-year period amounted to Â£23,374.11, a total ofÂ£11,860 of which in cash withdrawals. The court heard this amount could have paid for nine months worth of care for Mr Judd, who is now in a care home.
During her summing up, Judge Lucking alluded to the “frivolous purchases” made by Butcher using the card namely jewelry, bedding, lamps, items for her pet cat, feather boas and a log basket, among others.
“These are what can only be described as trinkets,” said Judge Lucking.
“This was not money used to pay for a mortgage or to put food on the table.”
Butcher was found to have breached the trust of Mr Judd’s daughter, Helen, who had entrusted her father’s care to the defendant as she was working in London, miles away from where he lived.
Mrs Judd was her father’s power of attorney in financial matters, and handed over the bank card to Butcher so that small purchases could be made for minor food shops of up to Â£30 and any essential items for Mr Judd’s care. It was made clear via an email to Butcher that no large withdrawals were to be made.
The fraud and theft were only discovered once Mr Judd’s health had deteriorated to the point he had to be put in a care home in February 2016.
Bank statements recovered from his house by Mrs Judd showed the extent of Butcher’s actions.
Butcher was interviewed in May and August 2016. She denied she had committed the offences and even went so far as to blame Mr Judd’s dementia for the large cash withdrawals made (twice in excess of Â£1000) saying he had an obsession with money and kept it lying around the house.
While prosecuting, Ms Bakshi summarised personal victim statements from Mrs Judd who said Butcher had taken advantage of her kindness. She continued by saying she was stressed and had spent many sleepless nights because Butcher had emptied her father’s life savings, leaving Mrs Judd unable to pay for his future care.
She felt “betrayed”, “deceived”, “manipulated” by Butcher, who had been referred to as a family friend.
A personal statement made after Butcher’s guilty plea on August 2, 2017, Mrs Judd said the affair had ruined memories of her parents because their house was associated with the crime.
Mitigating, Mr Lee said there was no denying the level of care given to Mr Judd was good and that Butcher was able to care for him at all times of day and night.
The defence’s efforts to have Butcher’s sentence suspended were in vain as Judge Lucking opted for a custodial sentence which, she said, would hopefully act as a deterrent.
Mr Lee had pointed to good character references supplied by a family for which Butcher had been caring. However, Judge Lucking pointed out this was somewhat of a double-edged sword seeing how the defendant had once had the trust of the Judd family while committing her offences.
Taking into consideration Butcher’s guilty plea, her remorse for her actions, the doctor’s report and the care she provided to the family that provided the character reference, Judge Lucking reduced the sentence from 36 months to 28 months.
“The nature of this case is so serious that only a custodial is justified,” said Judge Lucking.