Christmas in jail for carer who stole from widows
ACARER is to spend Christmas in jail for her first offence after she stole £99 in cash from two elderly widows she was supposed to help with day-to-day living.
Marie Crawford, 59, from Rochdale, stole the money from the handbags of the confused victims aged 86 and 90 on four different occasions when she took them out for lunches and shopping trips or helped them with household chores.
She was caught after relatives of one of the women installed CCTV spy cameras outside her home and filmed Crawford pick cash out of the lady’s handbag as she was packing it in the back of the car ahead of a day trip.
At Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court, Crawford, of Willows Lane, who admitted theft, burst into tears as she was told by a judge she would be locked up for 20 weeks as a ‘short sharp shock.’
She will be eligible for release on January 31 2019 but her sentence will be then be reassessed under the terms of a partially suspended sentence.
Judge Bernard Lever told her: ‘’In this country there are thousands of old people in their own home being looked after by carers, who suffer with dementia and memory difficulties.
“The vast majority of those carers are very loving, honest, kind and decent people. But there is a temptation for dishonest carers to steal from the people they are assigned to protect care for them and look after them. But in flagrant breach of that trust you started rifling their bags for cash.
“These ladies were aware their money was disappearing, and it was when family members watched the CCTV you were caught red handed stealing their money. This short sentence will act as a shock to you.
“This sentence is a sharp reminder to you and those like you that people who steal from vulnerable little old ladies, they will be remanded in custody.”
The court heard the thefts occurred between September and October this year whilst Crawford was working for a care provider.
Prosecutor Martin Callery said: “The two victims, who are related, have illnesses and ailments that are generally associated with people of that age and a Crawford was assigned to visit them and care for them at home.
“But it was suspected money was going missing, so family members began observing the defendant by placing CCTV outside the front of the house. They observed the defendant Marie Crawford arrive at the house and then leave the house with the elderly lady.
“She then took the lady’s handbag to the rear of the car and was seen picking money from it. It transpired that £20 cash was stolen from her handbag.
“The other elderly lady, aged 90, had been stolen from by the defendant on three separate occasions from her handbag whilst Marie Crawford was inside her home in the kitchen area.
‘’The family took note of the serial numbers on the notes to keep tabs on where they were going and the defendant was actually seen taking the money.
“When she was arrested she admitted all of the allegations against her.
“She had been a care worker for some years and she has since been dismissed as a result. Prior to all of this she was a woman of hitherto good character.”
In a statement the 86-year old woman’s daughter said: “My mum has lived at her address since she was married to my dad in 1958. Once my dad died in 2007 she lived alone in that house. She has three children, two sons and one daughter, and four grandchildren.
“She is a proud person who wants to stay in her house and live as independently as possible. In 2015 she was diagnosed with vascular dementia and for a significant period, all our family are having to adapt to the changes this illness brings.
“We try to provide as much support as possible and make sure she is able to live in her own home as her wish. As part of her illness she fixated on money and counting things like her key, and her bank card and whether has money in her purse.
“She checks these items numerous times a day. That said she does not know amounts of money, she just checks to see if money is there.
“We are heartbroken to hear how distressed our mum is. The trust placed upon this carer has been totally abused.
“People with dementia are the most vulnerable as crimes committed against them are the most difficult to prove, this was a betrayal.”
In mitigation, Crawford’s lawyer Mark Fireman said: “She is almost 60 and has been a carer for many years.
“She has by her own actions lost her employment, lost her good character and is before this court deeply ashamed of the actions she took.
“She is unable to explain why she did what she did when she did it.
“There was no financial issues. She didn’t spend the money on expensive gifts and high living was not the reason for the thefts.”
●●Marie Crawford has been jailed