Carer targeted client in his Rothwell home

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A woman carer sneaked in and stole cash at the home of a partially paralysed man after gaining access details through her work.

Charmaine Winterburn’s 58-year-old victim had suffered a stroke which left him paralysed down one side of his body.

Sobia Ahmed prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court he needed carers to come to his Rothwell home four times a day to help him dress, make meals and put him to bed at night.

Carers accessed his home via a key safe outside which had a PIN number or by buzzer. On one occasion Winterburn had stood in for a colleague, using the key code to gain access to the property.

On 20 February around 8.10am the complainant was in bed awaiting his morning carer when he heard a key being used on the outside door.

He saw a woman enter and go into the living room where she remained for about five minutes. He shouted out asking who she was and Winterburn replied she was looking for some gloves.

A few minutes after she had left the expected carer arrived. She checked the man’s wallet and found £40 in cash had been stolen.

A neighbour who had seen a Ford Focus car outside the house and a woman taking the key from the key safe and going into the flat had noted the number of the vehicle.

That was traced to Winterburn’s partner and Winterburn was arrested. At that time she denied involvement in the offence .

Marlon Grossman representing Winterburn said she accepted responsibility and was deeply remorseful for her actions which had happened when she was under family pressures, adding: “She accepts she made a gross error.”

He said she was now unemployed and any prospect of work in the care field had gone.

Winterburn, 37 of Berkeley View, Roundhay, admitted burglary and was given 16 months in prison suspended for 12 months with a 30 day activity requirement and 150 hours unpaid work.

Judge James Spencer QC said she abused her knowledge and position of trust to steal from the stroke victim after discovering the entry arrangements.

“That was a wicked thing to do because you targeted him. You knew he could not put up any resistance and you did it for your own greed.”

But he accepted she had no previous convictions and was genuinely remorseful for her actions.

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