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Carer jailed for stealing cash from severely disabled young woman
12:50pm Friday 20th September 2013 in Local
A SEVERELY disabled young woman says the independence she had fought for has been jeopardised by a heartless carer who abused her trust to steal from her.
At Warwick Crown Court carer Poppy Brown was jailed for eight months after a judge said her offences were too serious for any other sentence.
Brown, aged 22, of Underhill Close in Redditch, had pleaded guilty to six charges of fraud by the abuse of her position as a carer for her victim Julia Price.
The charges related to a total of £1,117 in cash and mobile phone top-ups she had obtained using 21-year-old Miss Price’s bank card.
And on the day she appeared to be sentenced Brown pleaded guilty to a further charge relating to other dishonest uses of the card to obtain approximately £2,883.
Prosecutor Theresa Thorp said that at the time of the offences, between June and November last year, Brown was one of a number of carers for Miss Price who is partly paralysed and suffers from a number of conditions including degenerative nerve damage.
As a result the young Stratford woman relied heavily on her carers for 24-hour assistance.
Because of her condition, she is unable to use bank cash machines or enter her pin number, so her carers have to do it for her, and therefore know her pin number.
Miss Price became suspicious of Brown in November last year when she found her debit card loose in her handbag rather than in her purse, where it should have been.
And when she tried to withdraw cash later that day, with the assistance of another carer, the transaction was refused because her daily withdrawal limit had been exceeded.
When Miss Price’s bank statements were checked there were a number of cash withdrawals of which she had no knowledge.
It emerged that on various dates between June and November Brown had fraudulently used Miss Price’s card, sometimes up to six times a day, said Miss Thorp.
When she was arrested Brown accepted being present on a number of those occasions but denied the offences.
Miss Price said the thefts affected her health and left her “feeling violated, vulnerable and alone” and that she had fought for two years to gain her independence which had been jeopardised because the money was necessary to fund her carers.
Edward Soulsby, defending, conceded that the offences crossed the custody threshold, but submitted that the sentence could be suspended.
He said Brown “has had her own problems” and had been in a relationship with a “workshy individual” who made no contribution to their living expenses, leaving her to find all the money.
Jailing Brown, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said: “There are a lot of people who, for one reason or another, have to trust those who care for them.
“Many people show a lot of courage with disability and fight very hard to be as independent as possible, and the victim in this case is such an example, but she is still dependent on people who will care for her and not cheat her out of money.”
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