A CARER who drained every penny from the bank account of an elderly couple with dementia and spent it on lavish items — from a child’s guitar lessons to a BMW car — faces the prospect of imprisonment.
Island magistrates were so appalled after they heard how Leanne Sabin cashed cheques worth £9,684 belonging to John and June Beaumont, they warned their sentencing powers were too inadequate to punish her.
The court was told neighbours saw Mr Beaumont wandering around in his garden.
When they spoke to him, Mr Beaumont said he thought Barclays Bank had gone bust because there was no money in his account, said Ann Smout, prosecuting, at the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
The neighbours contacted the bank for them and it came to light Sabin, of Bridge Road, Cowes, had cashed six cheques, between October 21 and December 10 last year, and cleared out the Beaumont’s account.
Sabin had also attempted to cash other cheques which, had there been sufficient funds, would raised the figure stolen to around the £12,000 mark.
Sabin, 34, was employed to take care of the couple, with dementia and other medical needs, the bench was told.
To police, Sabin confessed to the theft of the cheques, which had been signed by the couple.
Before she cashed them, Sabin said she waited for a while to see if any inquiries into the missing cheques were made.
The money stolen was repaid to the couple by Barclays Bank, but Sabin said she had used the cash to feed the family, buying luxury food items and Christmas gifts, paying for guitar lessons for her child and, most extravagantly of all, she bought a BMW car, said Mrs Smout.
Sabin, with no previous convictions, said she felt terrible about what she did and the harm it caused Mr and Mrs Beaumont, aged 89 and 88 respectively.
Mrs Smout stressed the theft had a massive impact on the couple’s health.
“This was a gross breach of trust against an elderly couple with dementia and other medical problems,” said Mrs Smout.
Criminal activity among carers has put the care industry on the Isle of Wight under the spotlight recently after two care workers stole palliative drugs from a dying woman in her 90s recently.
The suspended sentence they received was considered to be lenient, according to the victim’s family.
For Sabin, Oscar Vincent said his client’s actions were out of character and she was deeply sorry and wanted to make amends by repaying the couple.
“She was going through an acrimonious marital breakdown and had extreme financial pressures, but she was too proud and stubborn to ask for support,” said Mr Vincent.
Magistrates ordered a pre-sentence report, with custody a consideration.
Sabin will be sentenced at the Isle of Wight Crown Court on November 6.