Great Yarmouth cleaner jailed over thefts

A cleaner from Great Yarmouth who stole more than �12,000 from an 80-year-old disabled dementia sufferer has been jailed for 16 months.

Linda Barnes used the woman's bank card over a period of 18 months and illegally obtained a total of �12,702, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Barnes, 62, of Alexandra Close, Yarmouth, admitted one offence of fraud between August 2008 and March 2010.

Jailing her for 16 months Judge John Devaux said there was a high degree of breach of trust because of the role she occupied in the victim's household.

He said although Barnes had benefited by �12,702 she had no available assets and he therefore made a nominal �1 confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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Kevin McCarthy, for Barnes, said his client, who arrived at court on crutches, was in poor health. He said she had initially borrowed modest sums from the victim which were paid back.

'She would assert it wasn't fraudulent at the outset,' said Mr McCarthy.

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He said Barnes had been under considerable financial pressure at the time she took money. 'Her financial life was in chaos,' he said.

'There was no easy way out and she took from a vulnerable victim over a period of time.'

Since her arrest Barnes had written out a number of cheques for modest sums and sent them to the victim's daughter but these had not yet been cashed.

Mr McCarthy said Barnes was 'utterly ashamed' of what she had done and wished she could turn the clock back.

He said she was shocked when she found out how much money she had actually taken.

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