Plymouth carer stole more than £3,000 from 90-year-old woman
A CARER stole more than £3,000 from a 90-year-old woman living at a nursing home in an "awful crime", a court heard.
Tina Cox, 47, took the resident's bank card and repeatedly used it to withdraw hundreds of pounds in cash, Plymouth magistrates heard.
The frail lady did not notice the transactions for three months, the court was told.
But Cox was spared an immediate jail term after magistrates heard of her remorse and previous good character. She must pay back the £3,600 she stole.
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Presiding magistrate Christopher Ewings said: "This was an awful crime. It was a breach of trust with a vulnerable victim aged 90. But it was out of character and you have shown remorse."
Cox was given a four-month jail term, suspended for 12 months. She must do 200 hours unpaid work and pay the full amount back in compensation plus £85 prosecution costs.
Outside court, a tearful Cox said: "I am just thankful I have not been sent to prison. I have been so sorry for what I have done. It was completely out of character. It is not the person I am.
"I am sorry for putting the home and the lady through any stress."
Cox, of Cockington Crescent, Leigham, admitted four counts of theft of £300 from the woman between April and July.
She asked for eight other similar matters to be taken into consideration.
Gareth Warden, for the Crown Prosecution Service, told the court the 90-year-old was a resident at the Lelant Nursing Home in Mannamead.
He said she had limited mobility and rarely left the home.
Mr Warden added: "She is described as a worrier and any anxiety causes her confusion."
The court heard staff had previously urged her to lock her bank card in a safe, but she kept it in her handbag in her room.
He said she was confused about her bank statement, which showed several withdrawals of £300, mostly from Asda at Estover.
Mr Warden said the amount taken added up to £3,600.
A friend who visited the woman called the police.
Mr Warden said police examined CCTV footage at the time of one of the withdrawals, which showed a red-headed woman who appeared to be wearing a nurse's uniform.
He added that detectives were in the home when Cox walked into the office with similar distinctive hair and carrying a handbag resembling one held by the woman in the footage.
Mr Warden said Cox admitted the offence, saying she had taken the card and memorised the PIN which was written on a piece of paper.
Owen Lawton, for Cox, said at the time of the offences she was suffering from depression and was trying to help her daughters, who each had financial problems.
He added the offences happened in a "moment of weakness".
Mr Lawton said Cox was honest when confronted with her offences and had already paid the police just over £1,000 to be returned to the victim.
He added she had been dismissed from the home but had since found another job.