A carer who stole almost £30,000 from a vulnerable 96-year-old man to feed her gambling habits has been jailed for 44 weeks.
Mum-of-three Emma Louise Clarke, 33, of Hazeldene Road, Fleetwood, sobbed and screamed: “My babies” as Recorder Nicholas Clarke imposed the immediate term.
The victim is a 96-year-old man with age-related issues
Preston’s Sessions House court was told how between November 2014 and January 2015 Clarke stole approximately £29,035.16 from the vulnerable pensioner, helping herself to £300 a day from his account by using his card at an ATM and planting the money straight into her own account at the same machine.
Investigations later showed how she had tried to disguise transactions by naming them ‘insurance’ – and revealed she had blown £17,000 on gambling websites.
Due to the OAP’s vulnerability he is thought to be unaware of the circumstances, and the court was told police decided not to obtain a statement from him due to the potential to distress him.
At the time Clarke worked for the now defunct care firm CIC in Fleetwood, which assisted the 96-year-old, who has no family, with his cooking, cleaning and household chores.
He needed four visits a day to assist him.
Clarke resigned after suspicions came to light about her inappropriate behaviour towards the pensioner, but she then continued working as an independent carer for him, and carried on stealing his life savings over a seven month period.
His £23,000 bank balance, which was regularly topped up by pension and benefit payments, dwindled and he soon became overdrawn.
Prosecuting, Neil Ronan said: “The victim is a 96-year-old man with age related and mobility issues.
“The defendant resigned from the care firm in December 2014 when her partner attended their premises with a chequebook and raised concerns she may have been stealing.
“Concerns were expressed she continued to provide care for him and would turn up at his home with her children.
“She put her phone number in his phone.
“One carer overheard him asking for his bank card.
“Another carer noticed he had very little food in his fridge and he told her he had not had his bank card for a few days.
“He believed the defendant was still working for the firm.
“She was able to use money from his account for everyday living while she spent money on gambling.”
Defending, Paul Darnborough said she had been in an abusive relationship for 15 years and had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
He added: “These matters have been a salutary lesson to her.”
Recorder Clarke was handed an emotional letter from her 14-year-old daughter begging him not to send her mother to prison.
He said: “I was moved by the letter from your daughter but there is no getting away from the fact these are serious offences.”