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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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'Deeply dishonest' care worker from Carlisle sentenced for cash theft

A “deeply dishonest” care worker who brought disgrace on her profession by thieving from one of her elderly clients had almost certainly done it before, Cumbria’s top judge said.

Related: Carlisle care worker stole 'marked' cash from woman she was helping, court told

Lorraine Heslop, 49, was found guilty at Carlisle Crown Court of a single charge of stealing a £20 note from the handbag of a 78-year-old Aspatria woman she was paid to help wash and get dressed in the morning.

But Judge Paul Batty QC, the Honorary Recorder of Carlisle, said it was “highly likely” that she had stolen two other £20 notes from the same old lady on other previous occasions.

She could not be charged with those thefts because there was no evidence to prove that she was responsible.

Such evidence only came when the police helped set a trap for her by leaving marked banknotes in her victim’s purse.

Heslop – a trained hairdresser who became a care worker 20 years ago - was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to do 120 hours unpaid community work and put under an electronically tagged curfew to keep her indoors at her home in Yewdale Road, Sandsfield Park, Carlisle, from 7pm to 6am every night for the next four months.

Passing sentence, Judge Batty told her: “You are a deeply dishonest woman. Not only was this a very mean offence, it was a very serious one too, because it was such a gross breach of trust.

“The elderly are entitled to expect that those who have the job of caring for them will behave honestly when they are in their homes.

“I hope you are never ever considered for a job in this field again. You are not fit for such employment.”

The judge criticised Heslop for pleading not guilty to the charge even though the evidence against her was “overwhelming”.

He told her: “You were caught absolutely red-handed.

“You should have pleaded guilty a long time ago but instead you still tried to brazen it out in front of a jury. This trial has been an utter waste of public money.”

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