Adult services social worker cleared of stealing £300

A social worker who withdrew £300 from the bank account of a cancer patient hours after he died has been cleared of stealing the money.

Stuart Jenkinson, 36, withdrew £300 from the bank account of 82-year-old Robert Cheetham just five hours after his death, Hull Crown Court heard.

Mr Jenkinson had earlier told the jury in his trial he had been asked by Mr Cheetham on Christmas Eve last year to withdraw the money and give it to his friend Stephen Martin in the event of his death.

Mr Jenkinson said he had been informed by the Bessingby Hall care home that Mr Cheetham, who had been suffering from terminal throat cancer, had died at 3.40am on December 29.

Following the call, he collected Mr Cheetham’s bank card and withdrew £300 from his account at 10.11am.

Mr Cheetham had previously given Mr Jenkinson his PIN number and asked him to make four withdrawals totalling £800 in the weeks before his death, because he was unable to get to the bank.

The jury took five-and-a-half hours to clear him of theft.

The withdrawal came to light when Mr Martin, who was executor of Mr Cheetham’s will, went to close the count.

Mr Jenkinson, of Eastfield Road, Driffield, said he had not wanted to give the money to Mr Martin, until he had spoken to his manager about it.

The court heard his manager had been on holiday and had gone on sick leave and had not been available for him to contact.

Mr Martin arranged a meeting with him at Bridlington Town Hall on January 9 to ask him about the money.

The court heard Mr Jenkinson told him the money had been placed in the town hall’s safe and he could not access it.

He then admitted to the court this was a lie as he had not felt comfortable admitting he had left the money at his niece’s house.

The money was recovered from his niece’s house, where Jenkinson had placed it in a bag with the ATM receipt.

Mr Martin contacted the police and Mr Jenkinson was interviewed about the incident on February 16.

Mr Jenkinson had been employed as an assessment officer in the adult services section of East Riding Council’s social services department.

He had been assigned to look after Mr Cheetham’s care provision last July, when he lived at Apple Garth, in Bridlington.

The council dismissed him following an investigation after the allegations were made.

A spokesman for East Riding Council said: “Mr Jenkinson has appealed against the decision to dismiss him from employment and it is not possible to comment until this internal procedure has been fully concluded.”