Published: 10:38, 21 January 2022
| Updated: 08:47, 24 January 2022
A Dartford hospital administrator stole almost £20,000 from a dead patient because she thought he had no next-of-kin.
But mum-of-two Ellen Camies, who worked with the bereavement team at Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, kept her freedom.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the 49-year-old's duties including looking after the possessions of patients who died.
One of those was a Roland Montrose, who was initially thought to have no next of kin, said prosecutor John Connor.
"The defendant took advantage of having access to his possessions by taking a number of his bank cards and using them to incur a loss of £19,844."
But a judge was told that Mr Montrose had a son, who revealed the trouble he had for some months in tracking down all the money taken.
The court also heard that Camies' deceit included her paying four cheques totalling £328 to herself in September 2019 that were payments meant for a doctor at the same hospital for signing cremation papers.
The court heard how Camies' thieving was said to be fuelled by drug debt and a cocaine habit resulting from a car accident in 2016.
The mum of two, of Hall Road, Northfleet, admitted theft and two offences of fraud by abuse of position which happened in 2018.
The court heard she had held her hospital job for more than 10 years.
James Harrison, defending, said Camies had described her drug addiction and subsequent offending as 'one of the darkest times of her life'.
He added she was so ashamed by her crimes that she had not even told her family.
"She is absolutely mortified by what she has done," he added.
Imposing a 12-month suspended sentence for two years, Recorder Andrew Walker QC told Camies that while working in her 'sensitive' role she had abused the 'significant degree of trust' placed in her by doctors, patients' families and the public.
But he said he was able to spare her immediate custody due to the detrimental impact it would have on her children as well as her realistic prospect of rehabilitation.
The judge added that although her then cocaine addiction was not an excuse, it provided 'some sort of explanation' as to why someone without previous convictions had committed 'serious dishonesty'.
Camies, who sat weeping, was also given a three-month tagged curfew between 11pm and 7am, and ordered to attend 10 rehabilitation activity sessions.
Due to limited finances however, she was only ordered to pay full compensation in respect of the doctor's payments and at a rate of £30 a month.
It is believed Mr Montrose's financial losses were met by the banks.