A CARER has been jailed for stealing £800 from the purse of a dying multiple sclerosis sufferer she was responsible for looking after in the final months of her life.
Jessica Hickling was jailed for ten months after a court heard she repeatedly stole housekeeping money from victim Gail Draper’s handbag as she lay in bed unable to move.
Hickling was caught after Mrs Draper’s husband Roger turned detective to work out which one of her team of eight carers was carrying out the offences.
Police also installed covert cameras at the couple’s home in Knottingley and Hickling was filmed taking money on two occasions.
After the case, Mr Draper told the YEP Hickling had “destroyed” the final few months of his wife’s life. He said his family were pleased she had been jailed.
He said: “This was never about money. It was about right and wrong. This woman came into our home and told my wife she was going to look after her, care for her and love her. Yet all the time she was stealing money. I want everyone to know exactly the kind of person she really is.”
Hickling, of Bailygate Mews, Pontefract, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position. Leeds Crown Court heard the offences took place between June and August this year during the final months of Mrs Draper’s life. Nick Adlington, prosecuting, said Mrs Draper was bed-ridden and only had limited movement of her body. Mrs Draper kept her pension and housekeeping money in her handbag beside her bed.
In July Mr Draper discovered £690 was missing from the handbag.
He then began to leave smaller amounts of cash in the handbag and it continued to go missing. He monitored the thefts in order to work out which carer was responsible.
He notified police who installed hidden cameras. Mr Draper recorded the serial numbers of some of the notes before leaving them in the handbag. Hickling was arrested after a £20 note matched one of the serial numbers.
Hickling initially denied the offence, claiming to have found the notes.
A victim impact statement, written by Mr Draper the day before his wife’s funeral, was read out in court.
He described how Mrs Draper’s knowledge of the offences had caused her to deteriorate mentally. Mr Draper said prior to the offences his wife had been very positive despite her health problems.
John Dunning, mitigating, said Hickling was sorry for what she had done and had pleaded guilty at an early stage.
Judge Penelope Belcher told Hickling: “You had no financial difficulties.
“The motive was purely for financial gain.”