A CARER who was caught on camera stealing cash from a vulnerable pensioner has been jailed.
The 85-year-old victim’s concerned family had installed a covert recording system in her home when they realised money was going missing.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that footage taken on November 12 last year showed Louise Fenbow, who was employed by Comfort Call as a carer, helping herself to £10 from the pensioner’s purse.
The 38-year-old was arrested and confessed she had been regularly taking the woman’s money. The firm subsequently dismissed her from her job.
Fenbow, of Richmond Terrace, Concord, Washington, pleaded guilty to theft of a total of £60.
Judge Penny Moreland jailed her for eight months.
The judge said: “It is hard to imagine a higher degree of trust than that placed in someone to care for a vulnerable, elderly person, nor to imagine a more gross breach of trust than to repeatedly steal from that person.”
Prosecutor Stuart Michie told the court that the victim, who has memory problems, was cared for mainly by her family, but Comfort Call was employed to give additional support.
Mr Michie said: “The family noticed money had been disappearing from the purse of the victim.
“They set up a camera in the house, and it was recorded that this defendant on one visit put a glove on, put her hand in the bag of the victim and left the house.
“The defendant fully admitted theft of £10 that day.
“She admitted for the last month she had taken more money from the purse.”
A spokesman for the family told police they were left sickened by the deception and said in a statement: “My mother is the victim, but she is not aware of what happened to her.
“This has had a bad effect on me.
“The carer has betrayed our trust and made me feel sick.
“I was shaking all day after seeing the footage.
“Every time I think about it, I feel sick.”
The court heard the family have been left worried about future care for their mum.
Glen Gatland, defending, said Fenbow, who has never been in trouble before and handed in several character references, was facing a mounting £13,000 credit card debt and struggling to cope with personal problems.
Mr Gatland said: “The defendant was right at the end of her tether.
“She had reached a position where she did not know what to do.
“She had contemplated suicide at one stage.
“She is full of remorse. She is disgusted by her own behaviour.”
After the hearing, a spokesman for Comfort Call confirmed Fenbow has been dismissed.
He added: “We worked alongside the family and the relevant authorities to bring this to a successful conclusion.”