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Carer stole from pensioner's funeral fund
A WOMAN caught the cruel and calculating carer who raided hundreds from her vulnerable elderly mother’s funeral fund.
Pat Mullen won justice for her mother from beyond the grave by jotting down the serial numbers of bank notes she kept hidden in a shoebox, snaring carer Diane Carpenter.
Unfortunately 79-year-old mother June Morris, who died in July, never got to see Carpenter jailed for six months for targeting her at her Bromyard bungalow.
Selfless Mrs Morris had been saving the money so she would not burden her four children with the cost of her funeral. Mrs Morris was one of four women preyed on by Carpenter of Main Road, Hallow, who was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court yesterday.
But Mrs Morris had been the victim of theft before and Ms Mullen had noted the serial numbers of the bank notes, Jim Dunstan, prosecuting, said. They were traced to Carpenter, a senior care worker with Saga Homecare, and she was arrested.
Ms Mullen of Windsor kept the serial numbers in a notepad and acted swiftly when her mother realised the money was missing. Her mother belonged to a generation who did not believe in banks, she said.
Mrs Mullen said: “She (Carpenter) has never apologised to my family. She has never said sorry or showed any remorse. I actually think she is scum, to be quite honest. That’s the word I would use for her. It’s a shame they cannot tattoo what she has done on her forehead. At least this stops her from doing it. I’m glad she had a custodial sentence - but I would say it’s not enough. My mum lost her trust in people because of this woman.” Before the theft her mother would ring her to tell her the money was still safe. But one occasion when Carpenter had just left her mum said “she’s had the money!”
In August last year, police searched her home and found pain relieving medication she had stolen from the same woman and from three others in her care in the Worcester and Bromyard areas.
The 44-year-old, who was immediately sacked after her arrest, pleaded guilty to stealing £340 cash and four other charges of stealing medication.
Mr Dunstan said the women were all unwell - one had had a stroke, another was registered blind and a third suffered from agorophobia. Three had been the victims of theft before by others. Mrs Morris had £5,000 and jewellery stolen from a shoebox owned by Mrs Morris.
Mr Dunstan said she had been saving for her funeral because she knew her health was deteriorating. In a statement, her daughter said the theft by Carpenter, who she had known well and liked, had "turned her into an old lady overnight." She died earlier this year.
Mark Thomson, defending, said Carpenter claimed she had been addicted to painkillers for twenty years following surgery after childbirth. She was taking up to 50 painkilling tablets a day "just to be able to function" and had taken 25 on the morning she stole the cash.
She was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia four years ago which had been causing her a high level of pain.
"Her reputation has been destroyed," Mr Thomson said.
Judge Michael Cullum said it was a breach of the highest possible degree of trust because the women were "as vulnerable as it's possible to imagine."
"Each must have been dependent on you as a senior care worker as being a link to the outside world and your visit could have been the highlight of their day," he told Carpenter. "You stole from them in their own homes."
He said the thefts "tainted the profession of carers who do sterling work."
"It was so easy for you to do it but the ramifications are significant," he said. "You were self-centred, mean and cruel while pretending to care."
He jailed Carpenter for six months concurrently on each charge.
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