By Court Reporter Friday 20 September 2013 Updated: 20/09 08:55
A SEVERELY disabled young woman says the independence she had fought for has been jeopardised by a heartless carer who abused her trust to steal from her bank account.
Poppy Brown was jailed at Warwick Crown Court for eight months after pleading guilty to six charges of fraud by the abuse of her position as a carer for her victim Julia Price, who said the thefts had left her feeling ‘isolated, vulnerable and alone’.
The charges against the 22-year-old of Underhill Close, Redditch related to a total of £1,117 in cash and mobile phone top-ups she had obtained using 21-year-old Miss Price’s bank card.
On the day she appeared to be sentenced Brown pleaded guilty to a further charge relating to other dishonest uses of the card to obtain approximately £2,883.
Prosecutor Theresa Thorp said it had been alleged that Brown had taken around £11,000. But her original pleas were entered on the accepted basis she had taken ‘no more than £4,000’ through cash withdrawals, cash-backs at stores and mobile phone top-ups.
The offences took place between June and November last year when Brown was one of a number of carers for Miss Price who is partly paralysed and suffers from a number of conditions including degenerative nerve damage.
She relies on 24 hour assistance and needs other people to take out money from cash machines or enter her pin when making payments, but they are only allowed to do so in her presence.
But it emerged Brown had fraudulently used Miss Price’s card up to six times a day during the period.
Brown was eventually caught when Miss Price found her debit card loose in her handbag rather than in her purse and when trying to withdraw money for the first time later that day was refused as she had exceeded her daily withdrawal limit.
Enquiries established the first withdrawal had taken place in Stratford at a time when Brown had been on a break from her duties at Miss Price’s home and her bank statements showed a number of cash withdrawals of which she had no knowledge.
When arrested Brown accepted being present on a number of those occasions but denied the offences.
Edward Soulsby, defending, said Brown had her own problems and had been in a relationship with a ‘work shy individual’ who made no contribution to their living expenses.
He added if she was spared jail she would be able to find a job and pay the money back.
But Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said it was a very bad case and a jail sentence was justified.
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