Jailed, carer who stole £4,000 from dy­ing woman, 91

Daily Express - - DAY & NIGHT - By Chris Riches

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

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