A judge has slammed police for taking “lenient” action after arresting a carer who stole hundreds of pounds from elderly people, saying the decision tied his hands “significantly.”
Beverley Simpson withdrew £400 from the card of one 89-year-old victim,and took £40 from another woman's purse.
After the thefts were discovered she was sacked from Birmingham-based Omnia Support and was told she had only avoided being sent to prison immediately because police took what was described as 'lenient' action.
Police offered to let Simpson off with a caution if she paid the money back – but she never did.
Judge Roderick Henderson said in court: "I'm disappointed this was originally dealt with as a criminal caution. This is a really serious breach of trust. I'm all for non-custodial resolutions but this is a serious case to be dealt with in that way and it should have been brought to a court.
"The reality is it ties my hands significantly."
Simpson, 39, pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by false representation and one charge of theft. She was sentenced to 10 months in prison suspended for two years at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, November 13, reports Birmingham Live.
Prosecutor Alison Scott-Jones told the court that her 89-year-old victim suffered “considerable mobility issues” and was receiving home-based care from Omnia Support following a fall. She added that Simpson had initially used the card when she did the elderly woman’s shopping, something that is against Omnia Support’s company policy.
But then between December 9 and 11 last year she withdrew money on three occasions whilst the victim was in hospital. When the unauthorised withdrawals were reported to Omnia, Simpson was questioned but at first she denied taking anything and blamed it on someone else.
However she later admitted the thefts to police saying she was “short of money at the time and took advantage of the situation.”
During the course of that investigation it was alleged Simpson took £40 from the purse of a dementia victim that she was caring for. She claimed she had done some shopping for the victim and had taken her purse home by mistake.
Police gave her until May 6 to pay all of the money back to both victims but she failed to do so, resulting in charges being brought.
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Olivia Beesley, defending, said Simpson had been “psychologically scarred” as a result of recent personal issues.
She added: "This offence was committed at the same period of time her grandfather passed away, that certainly had an extra impact.
"She was raising funds for his funeral and that's what she intended to do with the money. That's no excuse but more of an explanation.”
She stressed that her client was very remorseful.
Judge Henderson ordered Simpson to pay back the full £440 in compensation and complete 25 days of rehabilitation work.
He added: "These were dreadful things to do, we've heard the damage this kind of dishonesty produces. It's not the money it is the fact these two people who trusted you were betrayed. Because they trusted you and you betrayed them they now have difficulties trusting people.
"The money is by the by it's the terrible suspicion [the victims] have of others now. If I had dealt with this from the start I would be making you serve this sentence, but you were effectively made a promise you wouldn't go to prison and I'm going to keep to that."
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