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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Thieving Carlisle carer’s appeal for shorter prison sentence dismissed

Judges told a greedy carer appealing against being jailed for stealing from a disabled pensioner: “You’re staying where you are”.

Lynne Bowe  photo
Lynne Bowe

Lynne Bowe abused her position as a carer for Yvonne Varah, stealing rings worth thousands of pounds and of huge sentimental value.

The 51-year-old, of Milbourne Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle, had denied the theft but was found guilty after a trial at Carlisle Crown Court. Passing a sentence of three years, Judge Paul Batty QC had described her crime as “heartless”.

The disgraced carer had even tried to shift blame on to her victim, describing the pensioner as “pushy”.

Even after being jailed, Bowe refused to accept her punishment, challenging her jail term at London’s Criminal Appeal Court.

But her appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s most senior judges, who said the ‘mean’ offence merited a lengthy jail term.

The court heard 67-year-old Ms Varah had suffered two heart attacks and several bouts of pneumonia and, while she was able to live in her own home, she needed support from carers.

Bowe, who was a carer for Ms Varah for about eight years, took jewellery from her home in London Road, Carlisle, between August and December 2012.

Her thieving was only discovered when Ms Varah moved to a Brampton care home in late 2012.

She asked her sister-in-law to collect her rings from boxes in her wardrobe – where she stored them for safekeeping.

But when her sister-in-law looked, she found the boxes empty and Ms Varah immediately suspected Bowe, as she was the only person who knew where she kept the rings.

When police went to Bowe’s home, they found four rings which Ms Varah later identified as being hers.

Other items of stolen jewellery were not recovered and the trial judge found Bowe probably sold them for cash.

She claimed the rings found in her home were hers, or had been willingly given to her by Ms Varah, but she was convicted by a jury.

Bowe had a previous conviction for theft, having stolen a necklace worth £2,700 from the bedside table of an 83-year-old woman she was caring for, for which she was handed a suspended sentence in September 2012.

Her lawyers argued that her jail term was excessive, saying the crown court judge didn’t take enough account of her personal circumstances. But, dismissing her appeal, Lord Justice Fulford said there was “little if anything” to mitigate her crime; her previous conviction was an aggravating factor and the judge was entitled to pass the sentence he did.

Sitting with Mr Justice Hickinbottom and Mrs Justice Simler, he added: “This was serious, as well as mean, offending.

“Those individuals who are disabled to the extent they need carers are particularly vulnerable and are entitled to have confidence in the integrity and the honesty of those who they allow into their homes.

“The victim here was betrayed by the appellant, with entirely foreseeable and distressing consequences for her.”

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