Carer escapes jail for theft

A CARER who stole more than £2,500 from a 93-year-old woman's bank account has avoided being sent to prison.

Jane Hunt

A CARER who stole more than £2,500 from a 93-year-old woman's bank account has avoided being sent to prison.

Kylie Lockton, 26, was at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after pleading guilty to nine offences of theft.

Prosecutor Andrew Thompson said the defendant, of Suffolk Road, Sudbury, had been employed

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by Age Concern to look after dementia sufferer Violet Abbott.

On August 1 last year Lockton had accompanied Mrs Abbott to the NatWest Bank in the town's Market

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Hill and it was then she became aware of the possibility of cashing cheques from the pensioner's account if she had appropriate authorisation.

Mr Thompson said that while there was no dishonesty involved in the transaction when Mrs Abbott was present, very shortly afterwards Lockton had embarked on a string of thefts.

During nine visits to the bank between August 1 and September 26 last year, Lockton was able to illegally obtain a total of £2,575, the court heard.

The offences came to light when Mrs Abbott's 75-year-old son Sidney, who lives 150 miles away,

became suspicious, said Mr Thompson.

Mr Abbott had power of attorney to manage his mother's affairs and began making inquiries after

realising that cash withdrawals were being made without his knowledge.

Lockton was arrested and questioned and handed police a pre-prepared statement denying any wrongdoing.

When she initially appeared in court charged with the thefts Lockton had denied the offences but

before a trial could be held she changed her plea to guilty.

Azza Brown, appearing for Lockton, said: “She accepts and appreciates it is an extremely unattractive offence that she has committed.”

Lockton, who had no previous convictions, regretted the thefts which she had hoped would give her

money to spend on her two year old daughter, said Miss Brown.

Sentencing Lockton, Judge David Goodin told her: “These are a particularly mean and wicked series of thefts.”

He said Mrs Abbott posed an easy target for the defendant and that the offences merited a jail term.

Judge Goodin sentenced Lockton to nine months in prison but suspended it for 12 months.

She was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid community work and to repay all of the stolen money - initially using £500 she has saved and then at the rate of £25 every fortnight.

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