A carer who stole more than £6,000 from a vulnerable client – using some of the money for Girls Aloud concert tickets – has been jailed for 16 months.
Lisa Weare also used the money to pay mobile phone bills and for textiles to use in a business she was setting up, Preston Crown Court was told.
This is about the distress and devastation of a very vulnerable person. That can’t be measured in monetary terms because feelings, emotions and life difficulties are something which are immeasurable
Her victim, a 50-year-old woman with a mental age of 12, was left having nightmares about “horrible things” and no longer felt safe when she went to sleep.
Weare, 32, of Westfield, Blackpool, admitted theft and three counts of fraud.
Judge Simon Newell told her: “This case isn’t just about £6,000. It isn’t just about a substantial breach of trust by a young woman who has no previous convictions, but has used this money for her own purposes.
“This is about the distress and devastation of a very vulnerable person. That can’t be measured in monetary terms because feelings, emotions and life difficulties are something which are immeasurable”.
Weare was a carer for Fylde Community Link when the crimes took place over an eight month period between July 2012 and March 2013.
Kevin Slack, prosecuting, said the victim was unable to read or write and had no concept of the value of money and needed extensive help for day-to-day living.
Part of her care was provided by Weare.
The victim had two bank accounts and a locked tin that money would be placed into.
There was supposed to be a clear audit trail where any movement of money in or out of the accounts or the tin would be recorded in a cash book and dated.
The victim has three sisters and one of them noted small inconsistencies which she raised with the company and also at a safeguarding meeting, towards the end of 2012.
In February of the following year a community manager at the company noticed a number of discrepancies regarding the bank accounts.
Money withdrawn had not been recorded in the cash book, or on occasions a lower sum had been entered in the book, compared to the amount actually withdrawn.
It became clear Weare had been responsible for bank withdrawals. She was then suspended.
Further transactions were discovered. A textile firm had been paid £175, using the victim’s bank card, for 50 metres of organza cloth.
Mr Slack added: “The defendant bid £500 to buy four Girls Aloud concert tickets. This was in October of 2012. She paid for them in March, three days after she had been suspended. Again, the victim’s bank card had been used”.
There were also payments for mobile phone bills of £929. In total, £6,254 was withdrawn from the bank accounts.
Daniel Harman, defending, said Weare had lost her good character in the most catastrophic way.
He said: “She accrued a large amount of personal debt, run up following difficulties in the marriage and getting in the pocket of pay day lenders.
“Secondly, there was a significant increase in her alcohol intake and catastrophic errors of judgment, where she took from somebody she had worked for over many years.”
He added the defendant was remorseful and apologised whole heatedly. She had saved up £3,700 in the hope of compensating the victim for every penny.
The judge told Weare: “Your employers trusted you, her family trusted you and the woman trusted you. You let all of them down.”
Referring to the three examples of where the money went, he said: “None of honest payments are for basic materials you might need in your life, that someone under stress or financial difficulty might require.
“The victim has had to wait the best part of two years for justice to be done because in that very long period of time there has been avoidance, evasion and denial.”