Care worker jailed for thefts

A CARE home worker has been jailed after she stole £16,700 from the residents she was looking after and spent it on holidays.Julie Greenland first took money to pay for her son's school dinners but her spending escalated, Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday.

A CARE home worker has been jailed after she stole £16,700 from the residents she was looking after and spent it on holidays.

Julie Greenland first took money to pay for her son's school dinners but her spending escalated, Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday.

The 36-year-old enjoyed a sunshine break to Lanzarote, a trip to Bulgaria and even bought a minibus for the residents at Sandford House in Wivenhoe - a home for adults with severe learning difficulties.

She was arrested by police after she confided in her sister, who also worked at the home in Wivenhoe.


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Judge Christopher Ball jailed Greenland for nine months.

He said: “It will act as a strong reminder to people in your position that this cannot be tolerated.

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“You were in a position of very considerable trust in relation to these vulnerable charges and quite simply you were taken advantage of their vulnerability, particularly to your own benefit and to the benefit of others.”

The court heard how Greenland from Chaney Road in Wivenhoe, started work at Sandford House in 2000.

The well regarded worker, who was praised for “exemplary” care, was a signatory on residents' bank account as they could not handle their own finances.

Greenland, who earned £28,000 a year, had run up about £70,000 of debt and was struggling to pay her mortgage, credit cards and bills, the court heard.

She started stealing in March 2004 to pay for her 10-year-old son's school dinners and by August 2005 she has stolen more than £16,718 from two clients.

She took out money from cash-points and bank accounts, and one occasion she took £1,000.

Nicola May, mitigating, said Greenland was depressed and bought treats, Christmas and birthday presents for her clients so she felt liked.

She added: “She buried her head in the sand. The offending started on a small scale. The first instance when one morning she had to give her son some lunch money and she has a client's cash card on her and drew out a small amount of money to pay for her son's lunch.

“The larger withdrawals were for buying things for the residents of Sandford House, she had set a precedent of treating them, she had a genuine wish to make them more comfortable.

“She used it to buy food, clothes, treats, pay for picnics and trips out and holidays where all the residents were invited along.

“Things got out of control. She will never work in the care industry again, that was her life.”

She said Greenland left the care home before she was arrested and no longer works there, although she said all the money was to be repaid.

Greenland pleaded guilty to 12 counts of theft and asked for another 106 incidents to be taken into consideration.

Judge Ball added: “In our society there are many groups of people who are vulnerable or require care and one of the things that worries people when they go into care is whether they will be exploited.

“A very high standard is expected, when people fall below that standard the courts have a duty to reassure the public that this is something beyond the pale that will not be tolerated and put down clear markers to discourage others from succumbing to the temptation.”

Standing in the dock wearing a long red shirt and black trousers Greenland simply nodded when she was jailed.

Her friends and relatives wept in the public gallery as she was led away by security guards.

No-one from Sandford House care home was available for comment last night.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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