Carer jailed for taking savings
A CARER who stole £20,500 from a vulnerable neighbour to fund a better lifestyle, including holidays to France, was jailed yesterday.
Brenda Rodo (64) of Naseby Close, Westwood, Peterborough, took life savings belonging to Michael Mankertz, who has learning difficulties, while she was caring for him.
Although she managed to pay back the money, a crown court judge branded her dishonest and irresponsible and sent her to prison.
Rodo had been caring for Mr Mankertz after his mother died in 2003 and had got into rent trouble and started taking money from Mr Mankertz to pay off her debts. Her offending soon escalated, using money to pay for holidays, car insurance and other items over a five year period.
Her offending was discovered when another neighbour found Mr Mankertz sobbing in his garden after he discovered his life savings had gone.
Yesterday Rodo appeared at Peterborough Crown Court where despite telling the court she had paid all the money back to her victim, she was jailed for one year for seven counts of theft, eight of obtaining property by deception, one of forgery and four of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, with each sentence to be served concurrently. She had pleaded guilty to all offences at a previous hearing, and had been given the chance to pay the money back by Judge Peter De Mille.
Defending, Benedict Peers told the court: “She has kept faith with Your Honour’s request to pay back the sum, all be it at the 11th hour.
“She is the sole carer of her husband Alf, who suffered a brain tumour in 1987.
“It would appear that money problems were the trigger in this offence.
“She has paid back all her debts, and has shown remorse for her actions.”
However, Judge De Mille said: “It may have been the trigger, but it is no excuse.
“She had £1,000 of debts, but she stole £20,000.
“And it would seem that even when she had taken the money she failed to make payment on her debts and amassed a further £7,000. She is not only dishonest but irresponsible.
“Up until the payment of the £20,000 there is no evidence of her doing anything other than saying the right thing rather than doing them. You were in a position of trust and he was a vulnerable victim.
“The way you opened and closed his accounts was carefully planned and manipulative.
“It may be that you had financial problems but you used the proceeds to enhance your lifestyle, including many trips to France - you even tried to justify your offending by buying your victim cigarettes on your trips. Your disabled husband, who will not receive the care he is used to when you are in prison, is another victim of your offending.”
JAILED: Brenda Roda