A trusted carer was caught on camera stealing cash from the purse of an 86-year-old Brighouse woman after the victim’s concerned relatives set up recording equipment to catch her.
A judge heard that the complainant had been confined to a wheelchair after suffering a broken hip and 34-year-old Greetland woman Samantha Cobb was employed as her carer for seven months.
Prosecutor Martin Robertshaw told Bradford Crown Court that Cobb, of Dean Street, breached the trust placed in her by her employer and the vulnerable complainant by stealing cash from her on three separate occasions in February.
“It appears that around about Christmas time relatives of the complainant became suspicious that money was in fact being taken from the elderly lady and matters progressed to the extent that the family set up a camera at the complainant’s home,” explained Mr Robertshaw.
He said the camera was linked to mobile phones which meant that the relatives were able to monitor what was happening when Cobb was carrying out her work with the complainant.
Mr Robertshaw said the footage clearly showed Cobb going into the pensioner’s purse and it was estimated that on the three occasions she stole a total of £65.
“The family, of course, having seen what was happening on the CCTV footage contacted the police and the defendant was interviewed,” said Mr Robertshaw.
Cobb, who had not previous convictions, denied stealing the money and claimed initially that the money was going to be used to buy groceries for the complainant.
But earlier this month Cobb pleaded guilty to three charges of theft and she was given a six-month jail sentence which was suspended for two years.
She was also ordered to pay back the stolen £65 as well as £340 court costs in the next 28 days.
Recorder Tahir Khan QC said the offending was serious because the complainant was vulnerable and Cobb had breached the trust placed in her by her employer and the family.
“I will not go into detail about your personal difficulties at the time of this offending suffice it to say you were on medication for depression and I’m satisfied that you acted out of character and in a way that you would not normally have behaved had you not been suffering the emotional issues that I’ve alluded to,” said Recorder Khan.
He noted that Cobb was now very sorry for what she had done and jailing her immediately would have devastating consequences.
“It seems to me that would be entirely disproportionate to the seriousness of what you did,” he added.
“It seems to me the public are better served by me giving you the opportunity to work with the probation service to ensure that what happened was a lapse in an otherwise law-abiding life.”