Jailed, carer who stole £4,000 from dying woman, 91
A CALLOUS carer has been jailed after she stole nearly £4,000 from a dying pensioner who had trusted her.
Joanne Heald, 48, was attending to cancer-stricken housebound Christine Woodhouse, 91. But within days of starting work, she began using Mrs Woodhouse’s debit card to buy herself alcohol and clothes.
She carried out eight cash withdrawals totalling £2,750 and defrauded Mrs Woodhouse out of an additional £1,000, Preston Crown Court was told.
Police were called in after Mrs Woodhouse, of Lytham St Annes, died in January 2017 and all her banking paperwork appeared to be missing.
A search of Heald’s home uncovered Mrs Woodhouse’s cheque book, bank card and statements, driving licence and house and garage keys.
Heald only got a job with Advanced Home Care after writing herself a bogus employment reference.
On Wednesday she admitted theft and fraud and was jailed for 10 months and two weeks. Heald began caring for Mrs Woodhouse in September 2016 but within days started using her bank card to withdraw around £250 at a time.
In a police interview, the mother-ofone admitted taking money but claimed she had returned it to Mrs Woodhouse.
She also claimed she was too “disorganised” to keep proper records, despite training in financial management.
Since her arrest, Heald has entered an individual voluntary arrangement to help pay her debts.
PC Oliver Maughan said: “Heald abused the trust placed in her to steal from a woman too frail to look after herself.” Debbie Kay, manager at Advanced Home Care, said Heald had passed all her vetting checks and described Mrs Woodhouse as “housebound and very vulnerable”.
The Daily Express has crusaded in our Respect For The Elderly campaign for stiffer sentences for criminals who target pensioners.
Thieving carer Heald