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‘Mean and callous’ carer who stole £13k from elderly victims is jailed

PUBLISHED: 16:30 01 October 2020

The judge described carer Rachel Fearnley as mean and callous at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The judge described carer Rachel Fearnley as mean and callous at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A Colchester carer who stole £13,000 from four vulnerable and elderly patients to fund a gambling addiction has been jailed for three years.

Sentencing 44-year-old Rachel Fearnley, Judge Rupert Overbury described her as “mean” and said she had “systematically and callously” stolen from a number of vulnerable people over a period of 18 months.

“You amassed for yourself £13,000 which you then frittered away on gambling, “ said the judge.

“This was mean and persistent fraud against old and vulnerable individuals. You stole a large amount of money from them having engineered yourself into a position of trust.

“All these people you stole from had a variety of problems.

“There is no prospect in this case of me passing a suspended sentence. I would be wholly failing in my duty and would send out the message that if you steal from people you care for you won’t go to prison.”

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Fearnley, of Fowler Road, Colchester, admitted fraudulently obtaining £8,816 from an ill 67-year-old woman between October 2017 and September 2018, stealing a bank card from a 78-year- old man who suffered from dementia and was disabled after a stroke in September 2018 and dishonesty using it to obtain £1,569, stealing £70 cash and jewellery worth £4,000 including a wedding ring and an engagement ring from another victim in December 2018 and stealing £2,700 from a wheelchair bound man between April and May last year.

In a victim statement the daughter of one of the victims accused Fearnley of “exploiting“ her mother and said that her physical health had declined after Fearnley’s dishonesty came to light.

She said her mother became suspicious of her carers and had hid her purse and constantly checked her money.

Peter Spary, for Fearnley, said she had no previous convictions and her offending had been fuelled by a gambling addiction.

He said that prior to the offences she had worked “professionally and honestly” as a carer for 25 years and had “gone above and beyond” for the people she looked after.

He said she had suffered three heart attacks and needed regular checks by cardiac specialists.

“She knows she has acted appallingly to vulnerable people who trusted her,” said Mr Spary.


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