Trusted carer stole £5,000 from vulnerable woman, 83, who she was looking after in South Shields sheltered accommodation
A carer who stole over £5,000 from a 83-year-old woman she was looking after has been spared jail.
Joanne Carr, 33, withdrew varying amounts of cash from the vulnerable victim's card over a period of five months.Peter Schofield, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court how the victim was an elderly woman with "significant health difficulties".He told the court how she was a resident at sheltered accommodation Thomas Bell House in South Shields, South Tyneside, and Carr was involved in her care.Mr Schofield said that the victim asked Carr to do some grocery shopping for her when she was admitted to hospital with health problems and handed over her bank card and pin number.Mother-of-two Carr then withdrew £5,750 using the victim's card on around 21 occasions between August 2017 and January 2018.Mr Schofield said that it was not until the victim's daughter checked the payment of a gas bill on her mother's bank statement that the withdrawals were discovered.The family notified the management of the home who confronted Carr.The court heard how the police became involved and Carr offered to reimburse the victim.Mr Schofield said the victim was reimbursed for the amount taken by her bank.He said: "She's now very insecure. She now sleeps, very largely, in a chair because she is afraid of going to bed and something occurring."She is also concerned that the defendant may contact her."He added that because of this, there is a "marked effect" on what "independence" the victim can enjoy.Carr, of Wenlock Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to the offence of theft at a previous hearing a South Tyneside Magistrates court on January 21 this year.Penny Hall, defending, said Carr had made a "very foolish decision at the time of these offences," but that she never intended it to go on for the period of time it did.Miss Hall said at the time, Carr was "struggling to pay bills, struggling to feed her family and keep her home running".She said: "She now regrets that she should have asked someone for help."Miss Hall also cited Carr's good work ethic and the fact she has two young children for whom she is the primary carer as reasons to avoid a custodial sentence.Recorder Sophie Drake described the victim as a "vulnerable person" and Carr was "trusted" to provide care for her.Recorder Drake told Carr: "She trusted you with her card and pin number and you abused that trust."I accept you are now deeply remorseful for what you did."Recorder Drake sentenced Carr to eight months in prison suspended for 18 months with a rehabilitation activity requirement.She was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £140 victim surcharge.