Carer facing jail for theft from patient

A CARER who fleeced a mentally disabled pensioner of thousands of pounds was yesterday told to prepare herself for jail.

A CARER who fleeced a mentally disabled pensioner of thousands of pounds was yesterday told to prepare herself for jail.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court found Caroline Irvine, 47, guilty of exploiting her trusted position and plundering Edith Hall’s bank account of up to £3,650.

The mother-of-two, of Grange View in Widdrington, Northumberland, had denied theft and shook her head as the verdict was read out.

She was released on bail and is due to return to court for sentencing on December 6, but told by Judge Michael Cartlidge to “prepare yourself for a prison sentence”.

The judge said: “This was a totally shameful fleecing of an elderly lady who could not tell the difference between a £5 note and a £10 note.

“At one stage she took £1,400 in nine days. It is incredible.

“She has not at any stage recognised what she has done. She is highly likely to go to prison.”

Irvine, who is also known as Maddison, denied stealing the money she said she had withdrawn on Mrs Hall’s behalf between March and November 2005.

She claimed that the pensioner regularly went on extravagant shopping sprees and had blown it on new clothes and day trips.

Mrs Hall, who is in her 80s, has learning difficulties and is incapable of looking after her finances alone. She was unable to attend court yesterday because of illness.

The trial heard that Mrs Hall needed professional care after she left hospital in 2004 to move back to her residential home in Stobhill, Morpeth.

Concerns were raised when Mrs Hall’s new carer, Louise Robson, noticed that the money that had been withdrawn from her account was far more than was possible and did not fit receipts.

Andrew Finlay, prosecuting, had previously told the jury: “The monies that went missing from her account over that period of time were well in excess of the money she would need.”

He said earlier this week that Mrs Hall’s lifestyle was in fact “pretty modest and pretty meagre” and that she lived on a diet of yoghurt and mashed potato, buying most of her clothes in charity shops.

In an interview with police, Irvine said: “I cannot explain someone else’s spending.”

Carewatch, which employs Irvine, was unavailable for comment last night.

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