Trusted carer stole £2,500 from vunerable victim

Norwich Crown Courtpicture by Adrian Juddfor EDP

Norwich Crown Courtpicture by Adrian Juddfor EDP - Credit: Archant

A trusted carer narrowly escaped going straight to jail for the 'despicable' theft of £2,500 from a multiple sclerosis sufferer, who is paralysed from the neck down.

Tina Hammans, 46, was one of a group of carers looking after the victim, and had access to the victim's bank account as she used to help with a number of tasks, including doing her shopping, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Philip Farr, prosecuting, said that Hammans used to take cash from the victim's bank account for shopping but pocketed money left over, rather than return it to the victim

When the thefts came to light Mr Farr said that it had undermined the confidence of the victim.

In an impact statement on her behalf, Mr Farr said that the thefts had a 'negative' effect on the victim and said: 'She was visibly shook up that some she had trusted so much had betrayed that trust.'

Hammans, of Braddock Road, Caister, admitted theft between September 2014 and March 2015.

After hearing that Hammans had health problems herself and two children to care for, Recorder Douglas Herbert imposed a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered her to pay back £2080 of the cash back over the next two years by paying back £20 a week from the benefits she gets. He said that this would ensure the victim would get most of the cash returned to her.

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He told Hammans: 'This is a despicable offence. It was carried out on different occasions in which money was taken unlawfully from this lady, who is paralysed from the neck down and suffers from multiple sclerosis.'

He said she had breached the trust placed in her.

Andrew Oliver for Hammans, said she deserved credit for her guilty plea and said that it was not a targeted theft.

He said she had pocketed money left over from shopping: 'She would do the shopping and the money left was not returned to the victim.'

He said that if Hammans was to go straight to jail it would impact on her children.

He said she had a number of health difficulties and suffered from anxiety and depression.

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