Leeds care worker stole £3,000 from disabled pensioner

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A carer plundered more than £3,000 from the disabled pensioner she was paid to look after and blew the cash on booze and gambling.

Michelle Clayforth, 40, was employed by care company Servoca and visited the pensioner’s home in Kirkstall three or four times a day.

Leeds Crown Court heard Clayforth, of Gilbert Close, Kirkstall, took the 85-year-old pensioner’s bank card on eight occasions without permission and withdrew just under £3,120 between June and August this year.

The woman Clayforth stole from needed care as she has problems walking.

Clayforth avoided jail after the court heard she is the sole carer for her 13-year-old son.

Prosecutor, Duncan Ritchie said Clayforth admitted theft and told police in interview she “felt like a bitch”.

Mr Ritchie told the court: “The lady was happy with the care she received from the defendant and she trusted her completely.”

The court heard the pensioner’s friend who usually looked after her finances went on holiday earlier this year.

The pensioner asked Clayforth to go to her bank and withdraw cash but Clayforth initially refused because it was Servoca policy that workers could not get involved in client’s finances.

But the court heard Clayforth eventually agreed and the pensioner gave her the card and PIN number. Clayforth withdrew £60 on June 23 and handed over the cash and card, but later went on to take the card without permission.

Mr Ritchie said: “The defendant was arrested and during interview she said she spent the money on drink and using gambling machines. The pensioner didn’t want to believe the defendant was responsible and she feels she has been taken advantage of.”

Clayforth’s lawyer, Craig Sutcliffe, said his client’s drinking and gambling problems got worse after her 13-year-old son was diagnosed with a liver complaint.

Recorder Nigel Sangster QC handed Clayforth a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years; 80 hours unpaid work and ordered her to complete a six-month alcohol dependency course.

Recorder Sangster told Clayforth: “When the opportunity came for you to steal from her, you took it.”

Clayforth, who is on benefits, was told she must pay the pensioner back “every penny” she stole.

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