‘A callous crime’ - Carer jailed for stealing £25,000 from 80-year-old victim

PUBLISHED: 17:13 21 February 2020

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A care home worker stole more than £25,000 from an elderly resident leaving her with not enough cash to even cover her care home fees, a court heard.

Shirley Doe, 48, worked as a team leader at the Woodlands residential home, in South Wootton, King's Lynn, and stole the cash from the 80-year-old resident, who has dementia and was unable to manage her finances.

Richard Paterson, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said she stole the cash over a 14-month period but her thefts were discovered when it was noticed that a bank card belonging to the resident was missing from the safe.

Mr Paterson said that an investigation was launched after it was also found there were irregularities concerning the bank account of the resident and that her care home fees had gone unpaid.

When arrested, Doe admitted taking the cash but said it was to pay off drugs debts which her son had run up as she and her family were getting threats.

Doe, of St Edmundsbury Road, North Lynn, admitted theft and was jailed for 16 months.

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Jailing her, Judge Andrew Shaw said she had been in a position of trust and if she had been getting threats over her son's drugs debt she should have contacted police.

"When first these people came to you, you should have contacted police and sought their help. That is why they are there."

He accepted carers did a difficult and challenging job but warned those who stole from vulnerable people they were meant to care for usually faced custody.

He said she had targeted the victim because she knew her thefts would go undetected: "You targeted this lady because she would not notice that the money was being depleted from her bank account."

Isobel Ascherson, for Doe, said that as a result of what happened she would no longer be able to work as a carer again.

She said Doe thought she was helping her son by taking the cash to pay off his debts.

"She blames herself. She did it to try to help her son."

After the case, Det Con Gemma Weeks, from Norfolk police adult abuse investigation unit, said: "This is a callous crime. Doe used her trusted position to financially abuse a vulnerable elderly lady she cared for."

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