Carer who stole £3,000 from housebound woman is jailed

A scheming carer stole more than £3,000 from the bank account of an elderly woman she was trusted to look after.

Former nurse Julie Ann Taylor, 43, broke down and wept in the dock at Bolton Crown Court as she was jailed for six months for what a judge called a ‘gross abuse of trust’.

Taylor’s victim – a housebound 76-year-old woman from Walshaw, Bury – had spent years organising care in the community as a senior council social services manager before she retired.

The court heard she suffered from acute rheumatoid arthritis and rarely left the home where she lived alone. Taylor, of Wood Street, Middleton, near Rochdale, worked as a care liaison officer for private-care company Home Care Support.

The woman’s daily package of care was organised through social services.

The court heard Taylor was responsible for organising carer visits but would often visit patients herself. The woman agreed to give her cash card and pin number to Taylor so she could withdraw cash on her behalf.

But she contacted police in March last year after noticing a ‘significant’ number of transactions that she could not account for over a 13-day period that month, the court was told.

Taylor made withdrawals in sums of £200 or £300 and admitted keeping the cash for herself. She pleaded guilty to 11 counts of theft totalling £3,055.80. David Clarke, prosecuting, said the funds were taken from the woman’s pension and savings after ‘a lifetime of hard work’. He said: “What is particularly unfair is that because the pin number was provided, the bank has chosen not to reimburse her. She is out of pocket.”

The court was told that police studied CCTV footage at cash points and Taylor was identified by her managers at Home Care Support.

Mr Clarke said a ‘complaint report’ about Taylor’s conduct had already been received by the company over allegations that she was becoming ‘over involved’ with patients.

And in a separate prosecution, Taylor has pleaded guilty to a charge of battery after she gave a patient an injection of prescribed drugs when she was not authorised to do so. She has been dismissed from the company and the court heard she was ‘unlikely’ to ever work in the profession again.

In a statement, the victim said she felt ‘horrified’ when she learnt of the thefts and now struggled to trust people.

She added: “I found myself becoming more concerned about who comes into my house and over cautious about security.”

The court was told she now relies on the kindness of neighbours to do her shopping.

Richard Dawson, defending, said Taylor was suffering from a brain aneurysm and had stolen the money because her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. He described her actions as a ‘blip’ on her character after 11 years working as an auxiliary nurse. She has no previous convictions.

Mr Dawson said Taylor had worked for Home Care Support for three years and added: “Plainly there was a period when she acted entirely out of character.”

Judge Steven Everett told Taylor: “The lady spent a lot of her life working for the care of the community. It seems to me very sad and somewhat ironic that at a time when she should be entitled to receive care, that you abused the trust that she placed in you then used her cash card to steal her money. It was a terrible breach of trust. People in care and being cared for should feel entitled to trust. This sort of offence affects other carers. This was a mean offence and a message has to be sent out.”