Leicester care worker jailed for stealing from disabled man

A care worker was yesterday jailed for stealing £4,000 from a disabled man she was looking after. Abigail Herbert was sent to prison for a year for taking the cash which her victim had saved for a new specialist wheelchair.

The 22-year-old, who had never been in trouble with the police before, wept as she was led away to start her sentence.

Judge Sylvia De Bartodano told Herbert, of Dartford Road, Aylestone, Leicester, who used the cash to pay off her own debts, it was a “shockingly mean” crime.

The judge, sitting at Leicester Crown Court, told her: “People who work in the profession you were in are in a very personal position of trust.

“A message has to go out that people who work with vulnerable people must go to prison in these circumstances.”

Prosecutor Alan Murphy said Herbert was employed by social services as a carer. In April this year, she was assigned to be the carer of a 31-year-old man in Kirby Muxloe.

The man suffered from a kidney disease and lymphoedema – the swelling of an arm, leg or other part of the body because of an abnormal collection of a fluid in the body tissues.

Mr Murphy said the victim had to have a team of four district nurses changing the dressings on his legs daily and was virtually wheelchair-bound.

He said the man had saved for a year to be able to afford a new wheelchair to ease his suffering. Mr Murphy said Herbert had been caring for the victim for three weeks and knew he kept the £4,000 in a bag hung over a chair. He said she had stolen so she could pay off her own debts.

Jonathan Cox, in mitigation, said Herbert was deeply ashamed of her crime and had borrowed the money from her grandparents to repay the stolen cash.

Mr Cox said she had also written a letter confessing to her crime before the police contacted her.

He said: “This is a tragic case on both sides.

“She is only 22 and has never been in trouble with police before.”

Herbert pleaded guilty to the theft of the cash in April.

Judge De Bertodano told Herbert: “You had been visiting the victim for weeks and were in a position of trust. You knew he had £4,000 cash by saving up for a year.

“You took the opportunity when he was not in the room to steal it and take it. It is a shockingly mean offence to steal cash from a disabled person.

“I sentence you to 12 months in prison which you must serve immediately.”