Leeds carer caught on camera stealing from disabled man

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A carer was caught on camera stealing cash from a disabled man she was entrusted to look after.

Michelle Sugden repeatedly targeted the victim in his home by taking cash from his wallet until her offending was recorded on a spy camera.

Leeds Crown Court heard the victim is wheelchair-bound and only has around 25 per cent use of his body.

Phillip Evans, prosecuting, said the victim had a number of different carers to look after him at his home in Leeds.

Sugden was employed through an agency to provide assistance to the victim and did not have any power to deal with his financial affairs.

Suspicions were raised on April 9 this year when the victim discovered that all of his money had gone missing from his wallet. A further £80 went missing two days later. The victim and his main carer then fitted a spy camera overlooking the area where cash was kept.

Mr Evans said cash continued to be taken during times when the camera was not filming. The camera also went missing on April 20. A new camera was installed and Sugden was filmed taking £20 from the victim’s wallet on May 1. A total of £390 was taken. The court heard Sugden also took the keys to her mother’s home and stole jewellery, a television and a camcorder worth more than £400.

Sugden, of Berkeley Avenue, Harehills, pleaded guilty to offences of theft and failing to surrender to custody. Mr Evans read a statement to the court in which the victim described Sugden’s offending as “cold-hearted and calculating” and said he would have trouble trusting his carers in the future.

The court heard Sugden committed the offences at a time when she was in financial difficulties and was struggling to pay the rent on her home.

Timothy Jacobs, mitigating, said Sugden had no previous convictions and was ashamed of her offending.

Sugden was given a 14 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work. Judge Robin Mairs said: “What you did was clearly despicable - revolting - as you recognise yourself.”