Carer who ‘hoarded’ £2,300 from 96-year-old with dementia spared jail over mental health condition
PUBLISHED: 19:32 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:45 18 July 2018
A carer who cashed £2,300 in cheques from a 96-year-old with dementia and “stuck it under her bed” has avoided prison after a court heard she had become a hoarder after the death of her son.
Anne Sutton had began helping Lilian Woodcock with basic tasks in October 2016 after the latter was diagnosed with dementia. Over the course of seven months from the following March she cashed nine cheques made out to herself of between £200 and £300.
They were discovered in October last year when Mrs Woodcock’s son was filing her tax return.
Victoria Bastock, prosecuting at Norwich Magistrates Court on Tuesday, said: “Mrs Woodcock is a 96-year-old woman who lives alone in Norwich, frail and diagnosed with dementia in 2016. Her son has power of attorney and arranges for care and support for her. She has not been involved in these proceedings due to her mental capacity and the detrimental effect it may have on her.”
She added once the cheques were discovered copies were requested and the signatures appeared to be forged.
The bank refunded £1,500, and a further £800 after older cheques were discovered. In interview Sutton denied writing the cheques or stealing the money.
Norfolk Probation Service told the court they “sincerely believe there was no criminal intent” on the part of Sutton, and suggested a conditional discharge.
They told the court both Sutton’s sons had suffered from a terminal illness, and the death of her youngest child triggered a mental health condition which “caused her to hoard”.
Alistair Taunton, mitigating for Sutton, said she still had an envelope of cash - much of it in old £10 notes, which she would use to pay compensation to the bank.
“There is no suggestion at all the lady concerned suffered in any way,” he added.
“The straight circumstances are she had the money. She hoarded it and kept taking it when she didn’t need it. Mrs Sutton stuck it under her bed with all the other rubbish and items that were there.”
Chairman of the bench Jean Bonnick told Sutton the charge was “extremely serious”, adding: “It is purely because of your mental health condition you are not going to prison today.”
Sutton, 55, of Crowes Loke, Little Plumstead, was given an 18 month community order with a requirement of 25 rehabilitation days and supervision.
She was ordered to pay £2,300 compensation, costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £85.
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