A carer who stole £18,000 from a dementia patient to pay off her boyfriend’s drug debts has been jailed for 18 months.
Sarah Wingate, 35, pretended to be ‘a friend’ of the man by ‘popping in for a cup of tea’ while looking for opportunities to take his money, a court was told.
She was employed to care for her victim, aged in his seventies, and hoped that he would be too confused to realise that money was going missing.
The thief took amounts ranging from £50 to £400 from his bank account.
She also bought items including a PlayStation for £279, which she sold later that day at a second-hand shop.
Wingate met her boyfriend, who was described as a ‘ne’er-do-well’ by the judge, after splitting from her husband, and used the money from her victim to pay off his drug debts.
The pensioner later said that the fraud had affected his health and he had suffered from depression.
He also said he now finds it hard to trust people.
Wingate admitted two offences of fraud between November 6, 2017 and April 20 last year.
Stephen Robinson, mitigating, said that the victim noticed that his bank account was significantly depleted.
He said of Wingate: ‘She described her behaviour as disgusting and shameful. She is more than sorry.
‘She wishes she could turn the clock back and she would not behave in this way. She is ashamed of her behaviour and apologises for it.’
Judge Mark Bury told Wingate, from Cleethorpes, ‘You have behaved appallingly to a very vulnerable man in his 70s.
‘He relied on carers and you were one of those employed by an agency to look after him. Instead of doing that, you stole from him.
‘There was a significant breach of trust here. You were someone he regarded as a friend.’
He added that Lloyd’s Bank had been ‘particularly sensitive’ to the victim and had fully refunded all the money to him.