"Opportunistic" carer guilty of theft

18th July 2015

Carer Guilty Of Theft

A carer has walked free from court despite being found guilty of stealing from an 88-year-old widower.

Halton Magistrates Court handed mother-of-two Gemma Reid, 26, a 16 week prison sentence, suspended for 24 months, after she admitted to taking money from the vulnerable pensioner she was caring for.

Reid, who worked for a care agency and had been a carer for seven years, visited her victim’s home twice a day to help him get in and out of bed.

The court heard that Reid was caught after her victim, a retired head teacher and RAF serviceman, realised money was being taken and “set a trap,” marking a number of £20 notes in his wallet.

Although police later found a marked note in Reid’s purse she initially denied taking the money.

The victim died four weeks before the case went to trial and Reid changed her plea to guilty as the trial began.

Gary Heaven, acting for Reid, told the court that although his client had a history of gambling problems, becoming hooked on fruit machines and scratch cards, she took great “pride” in her care work.

“The offence was, to a large degree, opportunistic,” Mr Heaven said.

“What she was doing as a consequence was giving up everything in terms of her work.”

In a statement, the victim’s family said: “(He) was very keen to ensure the offender did not get away with what she had done and to ensure it couldn’t happen to anyone else.

“We would like to thank Cheshire Police for all their support throughout the investigation and ensuring justice was served, may he rest in peace.” 

PC Matthew Lagar of Cheshire Police said: “(The victim) was an inspiring gentleman and a pleasure to have met.

“He was a very strong and independent man who simply required some basic assistance for his day to day living, thus employing a private carer.

“One of these carers, the defendant, was in a position of trust and totally abused this position by stealing.

 “This was a very emotive case and we are pleased that justice has been done.”

Reid also received a 24 month supervision order and must pay costs and a victim surcharge.

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