Sunderland mum and daughter who stole £20,000 from OAP in their care lose appeal to have jail sentences cut

A mother and daughter who stole more than £20,000 from a 94-year-old woman in their care have lost appeals to have their jail terms slashed.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 10:47 am
Susan Stewart, left, and her daughter Carly Douglas.

Susan Stewart, 49, and Carly Douglas, 28, were each locked up for more than two years earlier this year for what the sentencing judge labelled a “grave abuse of power and trust”.

After an online bank account was set up in their victim’s name, £18,000 was siphoned off electronically with a further £2,991 removed using a bank card.

Stewart, of Hemming Street, and Douglas, of Offerton Street, both Sunderland, met the elderly woman after she became a resident at the city care home where the pair worked.

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Stewart, also known by the first name Suzanne, was general manager at Sycamore Care Centre, in Nookside, while Douglas was a flexi bank worker.

After their victim’s bank became suspicious and froze her account, Douglas attempted to remove more cash by impersonating the pensioner over the phone.

Stewart also tried to hide their crimes – committed over a month in 2016 – by amending the care home’s records to falsely explain why the money had been withdrawn.

She was jailed for two years and three months at Newcastle Crown Court after admitting theft and transferring criminal property.

Her daughter was locked up for two-and-a-half-years after admitting theft, transferring criminal property and fraud by false representation.

At the Court of Appeal this month, however, Douglas’s sentence was described as “wrong in principle” and Stewart’s as “manifestly excessive” by their defence barristers.

Rejecting Douglas’s appeal first, three judges were not persuaded by defence submissions that the motivation for the offence was to provide herself with the deposit for a new home.

They described her offending instead “as a gross breach of trust committed against a very vulnerable victim quite deliberately”.