A ‘greedy’ carer who stole more than £25,000 from an elderly widow she was entrusted to look after has been sent to prison.
A court heard Lynne Hardcastle stole the money at a time when she was employed to be an assistant and “close companion” of the elderly widow after the death of her husband.
Hardcastle, 47, instead helped herself to sums ranging between £400 and £2,500 which she paid into her own bank account.
Leeds Crown Court heard Hardcastle had originally been employed as a cleaner to the victim and her husband at their home in Barwick-in-Elmet in 2009.
Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, said the victim’s husband died in 2012 and she became more of an assistant and a companion to the woman.
The court heard Hardcastle was paid by the victim and also by the woman’s two sons because they were so pleased with the care she gave to their mother.
Hardcastle’s offending came to light in 2014 when the victim decided to sell her home.
The victim’s solicitors became aware of large sums of their client’s money being paid into Hardcastle’s bank account. Hardcastle was asked for an explanation but could not provide one and police were contacted.
An investigation revealed Hardcastle had stolen a total of £25,350. She pleaded guilty to theft and was jailed for 12 months.
A probation service report assessed Hardcastle’s offending as being motivated by greed to fund her own lifestyle.
Hannah Bray, mitigating, said Hardcastle stole the money at a time when she was in debt and had been put under pressure by her ex-husband to obtain money.
Miss Bray said Hardcastle was ashamed of her offending and was suffering from depression and anxiety.
Jailing Hardcastle, judge James Spencer, QC, said: “The consequences have been substantial because everybody feels the betrayal that you are responsible for.
“Such is the meanness of this offence, such is the degree of greed, there must be a prison sentence.”
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