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Carer who stole from 94-year-old sentenced in court

PUBLISHED: 18:06 09 April 2019

Kelly Harris has admitted stealing money from a resident at a care home where she worked. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Kelly Harris has admitted stealing money from a resident at a care home where she worked. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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A carer who stole £600 from a 94-year-old man while he slept has escaped jail.

Kelly Harris has been sentenced for stealing £600 from a 94-year-old in Diss. Picture: Neil DidsburyKelly Harris has been sentenced for stealing £600 from a 94-year-old in Diss. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Kelly Harris, from Diss, was called a “greedy, uncaring thief” by victim Raymond Barker’s son Martin in an emotional statement read out at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, April 9.

Harris, 39, was given a one-year prison sentence suspended for two years, 200 hours of unpaid community work and was ordered to pay £420 in compensation to the victim, along with a £115 surcharge.

She had previously pleaded guilty to taking cash amounting to £600 from Mr Barker’s wallet on four occasions between October 2018 and January 2019 at Weavers Court care home in Diss, where she was employed.

On Tuesday, Denise Holland, prosecuting, told the court how police installed a secret camera in Mr Barker’s living room and his son recorded the serial numbers of the notes.

Footage showed Harris looking through the wallet and she was arrested on January 10. A search found she had eight £20 notes that matched the serial numbers recorded by Mr Barker.

Martin Barker’s statement said: “The actions of Kelly Harris have had a significant impact on all of our lives, especially Ray. He settled into his new home and felt safe and cared for. However this all changed when Kelly Harris stole from him. We suspect if we had not caught her she would still be doing it.”

The 94-year-old, who no longer lives at Weavers Court, has full mental capacity, the court heard.

Ralph Gillam, mitigating, said Harris, of Buxton Road in Diss, had expressed regret, has no previous convictions and admitted her crimes early on.

She had been under “considerable pressure” home-schooling her 10-year-old child, who has Aspergers Syndrome, caring for her mother and coping with her own mental and physical health issues. She was also under financial pressure and had been threatened with eviction.

Mr Gillam said: “The report highlights the point that her decision-making was awry at the time of this offence. I understand it was simply spent on food shopping.”

Magistrate Louise Barber said: “This court takes an extremely dim view of what you have done.”

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