Care home boss stole nearly £11k from dementia patient to pay daughter’s loans

A care home manager who stole nearly £11,000 from an 81-year-old dementia sufferer to pay off her daughter’s loans has been spared jail.

Carol Weeks got hold of the vulnerable woman’s chequebook and used it to steal from her in what a judge slammed as a “very serious abuse of trust”.

Not content with cashing three cheques totalling £10,852, Weeks tried to steal a further £5,000 but the cheque bounced because there was not enough money left in the woman’s account, a court heard on Wednesday.

When police swooped in to arrest her and her daughter, who the court heard was oblivious to what was going on, Weeks claimed she did not remember writing the cheques despite them being in her handwriting.

Her daughter was overheard exclaiming: “Mum what have you done?”

Weeks was heard to reply: “I am so sorry to have put you through this.”

At the time of the offences in 2017, Weeks, now 60, was manager of The Old Vicarage Care Home in Deal, Kent.

She appeared at Canterbury Crown Court via Skype on Wednesday, where she pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud.

Her daughter has never been charged over the theft and said she did not realise where the money had come from when her mother transferred a chunk of it to her.

Prosecutor Andrew Evans said the nursing home Weeks worked at is home to elderly residents suffering from dementia and other health problems and therefore she “occupied a position of considerable trust”.

He told the hearing that texts between Weeks and her daughter showed no indication of any pre-planning between them.

“It was evident from the material that was found on telephones that (the daughter) was in considerable financial difficulties, she had a number of loans from various loan companies and various outstanding bills that had not been paid.”

When asked by Judge Rupert Lowe if she had repaid any of the money, Weeks replied: “I did offer to pay back the money right at the beginning.”

Judge Lowe said: “Where is the money now?”

Weeks replied: “We have spent it.”

Judge Lowe said: “You have spent it? Well done.

“It’s not your money to spend, is it Ms Weeks?”

Defence barrister John Barker said that neither Weeks nor her husband have been working due to the coronavirus crisis and her savings had shrunk.

Sentencing her, Judge Lowe gave her credit for her guilty plea and previous good character.

Weeks, of School Road in Tilmanstone, Deal, was handed a 13-month prison sentence, suspended for a year.

She must also carry out 120 hours of unpaid work when the Covid-19 pandemic allows and must repay £11,500 to the woman.

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