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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Heartless Carlisle carer stole cash from woman as she lay in ambulance

A heartless carer who stole thousands from elderly and vulnerable patients “because it was easy”.

Donna Sams photo
Donna Sams

Donna Sams, 31, took thousands of pounds, including cash from one woman who suffered five strokes as she lay seriously ill waiting for an ambulance.

Jailing her for 20 months, Recorder Andrew Nuttall told her it was “difficult to imagine a worse kind of abuse of trust than this”.

Sams, of Greystone Road, Carlisle, had been working for the Blue Bird care at home company based in the Atlas Works on Nelson Street, Carlisle, for just a few months when, in January this year, she started taking money from some of the people she was being paid to look after.

She pleaded guilty to 10 charges of theft involving a total of £3,867.

DC Carolyn Willacy, the investigating officer, said Sams deliberated targeted the most vulnerable in society.

“She knew that her victims would be unaware, too afraid, or too confused to report when money went missing,” said DC Willacy. “She was a callous, heartless individual who has shown no remorse at all and only admitted to the thefts when faced with irrefutable evidence.

“Her victims included an 86-year-old woman who suffered from memory loss, diminished eyesight and poor hearing. Sams admitted to helping herself to £280, £150 and £80 on separate occasions from this lady’s purse as she sat beside her, chatting, and knowing her victim could not see what she was doing.

“She stole £900 from another victim who lay seriously ill and helpless awaiting the arrival of an ambulance. When later interviewed by police, Sams said she chose her victim “because it was easy”.

DC Willacy said Sams used a ‘web of lies’ to tell clients she was saving money to fly to New Zealand to see her daughter. Investigations proved there was no daughter.

“All of the elderly victims we identified live with very few luxuries and do not have the means to replace the stolen money,” she added.

“She has taken from them the little independence they had left.”

Prosecutor Becky McGregor told Carlisle Crown Court that by the time bosses realised it was Sams who was taking the money, another totally innocent member of the Blue Bird staff had been suspended.

She was only caught because Judith Reid, the assistant manager of the city’s Nationwide Building Society, was suspicious when one of her clients - an old lady incapable of handling her own financial affairs – arrived wanting to withdraw £4,000 from her account.

When asked what the money was for, the old lady said she wanted to lend it to “her best friend Donna”.

The cashier called the police, who advised that £1,000 in marked notes should be paid out, so that it could be traced to Sams.

When she was arrested soon after, with the notes in her handbag, she told police: “I know, I know what I have done.”

Sams told police she had booked a £1,766 flight, with a luxury stop-over in Melbourne, Australia, although she was £2,500 in debt.

She admitted that she had also spent some of the money on clothes and petrol and had “squandered the rest”, Ms McGregor said.

In mitigation defence advocate John Smith said Sams had got into debt after returning to this country from New Zealand last year. “She is a lady who has not always managed her finances well and was having difficulty in coping,” he said.


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