Carer cleared of theft

A WOMAN found not guilty of stealing money from a Suffolk residential home has spoken of her seven months of “hell” while she waited to clear her name.

Jane Hunt

A WOMAN found not guilty of stealing money from a Suffolk residential home has spoken of her seven months of “hell” while she waited to clear her name.

Sharon Wright was accused of stealing £10 from a resident at the Barleycombe Home in Long Melford in December last year and a further £5 from a staff expenses fund.

Wright, 43, of Beach Road, Great Cornard, pleaded not guilty to two charges of theft and was yesterday cleared of both offences at Ipswich Crown Court because of insufficient evidence.


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Outside court Wright praised her legal team and said the last seven months had been “hell” while she waited to come to court to clear her name.

The trial heard that Wright began working at Barleycombe, which cares for people with learning difficulties and challenging behaviour, in September 2005 and her duties included handling residents' money and staff expenses.

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In November last year a resident, who suffered from autism and epilepsy, complained that £10 had been stolen from a shelf next to his bed and Wright was also accused of stealing £5 from a staff expenses fund after an outing with residents to a firework display.

The court heard that Wright had handed in her notice after she was questioned about the missing money saying she could not work somewhere where she was suspected of stealing.

She denied taking £5 from the expenses fund and said she had not seen £10 by the bed of the resident when she went to his room to give him his medication.

Directing the jury to return not guilty verdicts Judge John Holt said there was some confusion about who had come into the resident's room at the time of the alleged theft and another member of staff had told the court she hadn't seen any money by his bed.

Judge Holt said there had also been a conflict in evidence given by two members of staff in relation to the theft from the staff expenses fund.

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