October 30 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, June 28, 2014
A carer who stole £33,300 from a frail 90-year-old woman she was employed to look after and then spent most it on jewellery advertised on a TV channel has been jailed for 18 months.
Linda Greenacre, 55, paid 64 cheques totalling £26,300 into her account from the victim’s, after forging her signature, and made 36 cash withdrawals, totalling £7,000, using her bank card over a 22-month period.
She then spent £20,276 on 477 purchases from a TV station selling jewellery.
She appeared for sentencing at Norwich Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to theft at an earlier hearing.
The court heard that the carer took the money because she had always had to “scrimp and save and wanted some nice things for herself”.
The victim was too unwell to attend court, but her niece and nephew, Anita and Raymond Elmore, who are her only relatives, travelled from their home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire.
Mrs Elmore said afterwards: “Eighteen months is not enough for the amount of money she took. We’re just devastated by what happened. My aunt is such a kind and caring person. She and my uncle, who died about four years ago, had deliberately saved for their old age, and then this woman takes their money.”
The victim, who lives on her own in a council flat in Columbia Way, King’s Lynn, said on the phone: “She done wrong, Maybe this will teach her a lesson.”
Greenacre stole the money between March 10, 2012 and January 1 this year.
Prosecutor Kevin Eastwick told the court that Greenacre’s deceit was uncovered when the victim, who is physically frail and relies on carers to help her on daily basis, received a letter from her bank stating that her account was overdrawn. Greenacre had been the woman’s carer for over six years.
Mr Eastwick said the victim had impaired speech and hearing, and could not leave her home unaided. As her carer, Greenacre had access to her bank card and cheque book and would take her to the bank once a month to cash a cheque for necessities. The victim never used an ATM, as she was too “scared”.
When police searched Greenacre’s address in Lady Jane Grey Road, King’s Lynn, a lot of jewellery was recovered. But the court heard that it was probably only worth about £200.
Neil Guest, for Greenacre, said she was previously of good character. He said: “Although she committed the most mean of offences possible, she’s not a clever defendant, and it was unsophisticated in its execution. She’s remorseful. I cannot answer why she wasted the money she took on this rubbish jewellery.
“We asked for a psychiatric report as there is clearly something behind what why she did it, but don’t know what.”
In sentencing her, Judge Katharine Moore said her “particularly mean spell of offending” merited immediate custody.
Afterwards, Detective Constable Bridget Milne, of the adult abuse investigation unit, said: “This theft took place over a prolonged period and saw Linda Greenacre take advantage of an elderly lady whom she was trusted to care for. Her actions were calculated, deceitful and purely for her own personal gain. The majority of the money stolen was spent on jewellery.
“Over and above the financial impact of her crime is the emotional distress caused to this vulnerable and trusting elderly lady who had known Greenacre for over six years.”