Thieving carer released from prison after appeal

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A THIEVING carer who was jailed for stealing from a 90-year-old woman in Durham has won her freedom on appeal.

Angela Brownson was given 48 weeks by Peterlee Magistrates last month for theft of £535 from the victim, who was being cared for in her own home in Durham City.

Brownson was caught on covert cameras taking money from the woman’s purse after honest staff from another company involved in her care became suspicious.

“The victim was asking for increasingly large amounts of money to be withdrawn from her bank account,” said Ian Bradshaw, prosecuting.

Brownson, 54, of Hackworth Street, Ferryhill, was convicted of theft after a trial at magistrates’ court.

Appealing against the sentence, Penny Bottomley, for Brownson, said: “The guidelines for theft up to £2,000 suggest a community order ranging up to 26 weeks custody.

“The sum taken here is a lot less than £2,000.

“Despite opting for a trial, the victim was not forced to give evidence.

“Ms Brownson was a woman of previous good character who has found prison a terrifying experience.”

Recorder Ray Singh, hearing the appeal at Durham Crown Court with two magistrates, quashed the immediate prison sentence and substituted it for six months, suspended for two years.

Brownson must do 200 hours of community work, and pay £530 compensation.

“We feel bound to follow the guidelines,” said the recorder. “But I’m bound to observe some members of the public may feel the guidelines are inadequate in a case such as this one.”

Brownson asked for 28 days to pay the compensation order.