Published: 10:18, 05 September 2017
A carer who stole £5,000 from a 92-year-old woman has been branded "despicable".
But mother-of-three Zoe Nash, from Aylesham, escaped an immediate jail term after the court heard she was bipolar and having psychiatric support.
Instead the 34-year-old was sentenced to 13 months custody, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 30 hours rehabilitation activity.
Canterbury Crown Court heard that Nash, of Dorman Avenue, had given the stolen money to an ex-partner to buy a car. She admitted theft and two offences of fraud.
Matthew Bolt, prosecuting, said care for the victim, who has dementia, was shared between her godchildren – who lived some distance away - and a neighbour. Nash was employed to work occasional hours.
"Just before Christmas last year the victim’s godchild noticed some discrepancies in her accounts," Mr Bolt said.
"A cheque was found for £5,000, drawn in the favour of Nash. The godchild contacted Nash and asked her to repay the money but she refused to do so. More investigations were carried out and an application for a credit card was found in the victim’s name."
"Your behaviour was despicable. Old people need to be protected and we need carers" - Recorder Charles George QC
The card was never issued. Nash also tried to obtain a £4,000 loan by using the victim as a guarantor but this was unsuccessful.
Mr Bolt said: "Nash was arrested and her phone was examined. This showed she had Googled a question saying 'if I am 92 when was I born?'."
At first Nash, who has a previous conviction for shoplifting, denied everything, saying the £5,000 was a gift.
Phil Rowley, defending, said Nash suffered from bipolar disorder. Recently her circumstances had improved and she was now receiving regular psychiatric care.
Recorder Charles George QC told Nash she had abused the trust which had been placed in her.
He told her: "Your behaviour was despicable.
"Old people need to be protected and we need carers. Caring is an extremely valuable profession and we don’t have enough people doing it."
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