Crooked carer spent stolen cash on dating websites

Gang jailed after conning elderly people
Gang jailed after conning elderly people

A WOMAN stole thousands of pounds from a disabled man she was entrusted to care for and spent the money on dating agencies and cosmetic procedures, a court heard.

Donna Appleyard withdrew the victim’s disability allowance and pension and kept it for herself as well as taking out loans in his name which she never paid back.

Leeds Crown Court heard the victim was found to be living in “filthy” conditions and had very little food in his house when the offending came to light.

Appleyard, 42, took advantage of the victim after meeting him through a relative. She began walking his dog and doing shopping for him before being trusted with his finances.

Rebecca Young, prosecuting, said Appleyard applied for loans and took out store cards in the man’s name which was never repaid.

She also managed to withdrew most of his pension money and disability living allowance from his bank account.

Ms Young said: “It got to the stage where, shortly before she was arrested, that within minutes of the money entering the account at midnight she was at a cash machine and withdrawing it.”

The prosecutor said investigators found it difficult to quantify the exact value of Appleyard’s offending but it was thought to be around £30,000.

Ms Young said there was evidence of some of the money being used to spend on cosmetic fillers and dating agencies and websites. The offending took place during 2012.

Ms Young told the court: “The complainant was living in fairly poor conditions. The house was filthy, his clothes were dirty and there was very little food in the house.”

The victim was interviewed and said he had not given Appleyard permission to withdraw any money for her own purposes.

He said he thought she had only been withdrawing the money to pay his bills and for food.

Appleyard, of Denstone Street, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to five offences of fraud and one of theft.

Anne-Marie Hutton, mitigating, said some of the money had been legitimately spent on caring for the victim. She has previous convictions for dishonesty but had not offended for five years prior to the offending.

Miss Hutton said Appleyard had experienced difficulties in her life which had been outlined at an earlier hearing.

Appleyard was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years and made the subject of a 12 month supervision order.

Recorder Tony Kellbrick said: “On any view what you did was very wicked. You took gross advantage of a vulnerable man whose memory is not what it was. His ability to look after himself and care for himself was significantly diminished.

“I accept that of the money that was taken out of his bank account, some money was used for his benefit, but the rest of it you spent.

“You should go to prison today and many people will be disappointed with the sentence I am about to impose upon you. But it is only because of your personal circumstances that I am not going to send you immediately to custody today.”