A domestic helper stole £14,000 from an elderly dementia sufferer she was supposed to be looking after spent it on booze, a court heard.
A judge described Sharon Robshaw’s behaviour as “mean and dishonest” after hearing how she withdrew his disability benefits from the bank and Post Office over a three-year period and kept the cash for herself.
Leeds Crown Court heard the 73-year-old victim had suffered a stroke brought on by her actions. Robshaw, 35, of Maud Avenue, Beeston, Leeds, was given a suspended prison sentence and placed on a curfew after pleading guilty to theft.
Richard Woolfall, prosecuting, said the victim’s sister asked Robshaw to be his domestic helper in 2008 when his condition worsened. Her role was to help with cleaning and shopping. Robshaw later became trusted as a friend and was given a card to obtain the victim’s disability living allowance.
Social Services began an investigation in December last year when they became concerned at the large amounts going missing from his account. Robshaw was questioned and denied taking the money until the day she was due to stand trial last month.
Mr Woolfall said Robshaw had a problem with alcohol and probably spent the entire amount on drink. Robshaw was given a five-month sentence, suspended for two years, and also ordered to attend a programme to address her offending.
Judge Tom Bayliss QC told Robshaw she would have gone to jail were it not for her alcohol and emotional problems. He said: “You have behaved in a mean and dishonest way with a man who trusted you, whose family trusted you. He has had a stroke brought on by you.
“You were recruited to give him some domestic help. You were supposed to be his friend. You were supposed to help him by getting his disability living allowance but you helped yourself, not him, and you took £14,000 and probably drank it away. You were arrested and accepted taking the money but said it was for him. It was a lie – just a mean, mean way to behave.”