A former Northamptonshire carer who stole a dementia sufferer’s bank cards and withdrew more than £5,000 of savings from the elderly woman’s account has been jailed for a year.
Kathleen Fraser, 56, started working at the Swan Gardens residential care facility in Corby, in September last year.
Among her duties, the mother-of-three, from Culross Walk in the town, was tasked with bathing a 78-year-old woman with dementia and Alzheimer’s in the mornings.
But in November Fraser stole two of the elderly woman’s bank cards, which were kept in a wallet with the pin number, as the victim had difficulty remembering it.
Over the course of the next month Fraser made £5,567 of cash withdrawals from the two separate accounts, one of which the 78-year-old victim shared with her daughter.
At Northampton Crown Court yesterday, recorder Dean Kershaw said the matter was serious enough to warrant a 12 month prison sentence, despite a number of compelling references speaking in favour of Fraser’s character.
Recorder Kershaw said: “You went back time and time again, knowing full well what you were doing and you depleted those bank accounts in that knowledge.
“I’m sure the impact on (the victim) was significant.”
Prosecuting, Linsey Knott, said the thefts were only uncovered when the 78-year-old victim went to use one of her bank cards in a shop and found it was declined.
Ms Knott added that the crimes had a big impact on the victim and her family.
In relation to the victim she said: “To use the words extremely distressed would be an understatement.”
She went on to say that the family saw a “significant decline” in the victim’s condition after the thefts were uncovered.
“When she is lucid she is full of shame,” Ms Knott continued,” she is also having feelings of fear and doesn’t trust anyone. Sometimes she is too scared to be left alone.”
Defending for Fraser, Brian MacLernon said the money stolen was not used to fund a lavish lifestyle, with much of it used to pay off debt and unpaid bills.
Fraser, he claimed, even cut up the cards in December last year to stop herself from using them.
“She is thoroughly ashamed of her actions and she regrets the effect it has had on the victim and her family,” he said.
“She was suffering from depression at the time and had done so for some time. She was not seeking the help out there which was available.
“It spiralled out of control.