Care home manager steals from residents

A CARE home manager who exploited the vulnerability of three residents by stealing £1,500 from them has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Jane Hunt

A CARE home manager who exploited the vulnerability of three residents by stealing £1,500 from them has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Laurinda Woodgate, 56, who was described as a “trusted and popular” member of staff at Wade House in Needham Market used her position to steal money from the bank accounts of the residents over a 12 month period, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Woodgate, of Pearson Way, Copdock admitted stealing £1,529 from three residents with severe learning difficulties and was given a six month jail sentence suspended for two years.

She was also made the subject of a six month curfew between 7pm and 5am and ordered to pay £1,529 compensation. She was also made the subject of an 18 month supervision order.

Sentencing Woodgate Judge John Holt said, “You exploited the vulnerability and trust implicit in running the home and residents' finances.”

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“It was a mean series of offences and a serious breach of trust.”

David Wilson, prosecuting, said at the time of the offences between June 2006 and July 2007 Woodgate was employed as the manager of MENCAP care home Wade House at Needham Market.

He said that as home manager Woodgate was a signatory for residents in order for them to take money out of their bank accounts.

In August 2007 an audit was carried out at Wade House and it was discovered that Wade had stolen money from residents.

Mr Wilson said that staff who worked with Woodgate had been shocked when they discovered what she had done. “She was regarded as a friend and trusted colleague and they couldn't believe she had stolen the money,” he said.

Joanne Eley for Woodgate said the thefts were not sophisticated and she had left a paper trail which was easily detectable in an audit.

She said that Woodgate had no previous convictions and was genuinely remorseful for what she had done.

Miss Eley said her client had suffered from ME since 2004 and had found running the care home too much to deal with.

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