Disabled man’s account raided

Blackpool Magistrates Court
Blackpool Magistrates Court

A carer who helped herself to a disabled man’s money to buy Christmas presents and birthday gifts for her children has walked free from court.

Joanne Ailey, 43, admitted she did not need the money and had a comfortable household income when she started withdrawing cash and making Amazon purchases from her client’s account.

How you would feel if (your son) had been the victim of someone taking advantage of him is something I will leave with your own conscience

Ailey, a carer employed by Fylde based charity the Ormerod Trust, was trusted to care for the 33-year-old victim at his supported accommodation in St Annes.

He has significant learning difficulties and had no concept of money or that he was being stolen from, Preston Crown Court was told.

Between August 2014 and July 2015, Ailey was employed as the victim’s key worker.

An Amazon account had been set up to make purchases for his benefit, and money withdrawn from the bank was to be done over the counter and authorised by management.

In September 2015, staff at the Ormerod Trust noticed there had been a number of cash machine withdrawals and online purchases which did not appear to be for the victim’s benefit.

Ailey was questioned and admitted: “I think I have just been stupid. I have, but I don’t know why.”

Over 10 months, she had conned the man out of £2,167.06, buying scooters for her children and assorted gifts.

The court heard Ailey, of Alexandra Road, St Annes, had a difficult home life as one of her children has behavioural and learning difficulties.

She has suffered from post natal depression and went through a breakdown.

Judge Pamela Badley, sentencing, told Ailey: “You have pleaded guilty to stealing from a vulnerable man you were looking after. While you took the money, day after day when you were going back, smiling at your victim and doing little jobs for him, you had one hand in his bank account – and that is a callous thing to do.”

Ailey pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of her position and was handed an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for two years with a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement and £250 costs.

Judge Badley also ordered Ailey to pay back the money she had stolen within 28 days.

She said: “How you would feel if (your son) had been the victim of someone taking advantage of him is something I will leave with your own conscience.”