THIEF Maureen Hussey walked free from court despite stealing £17,180 from her vulnerable mother who was then brutally murdered by her daughter.
Maureen Hussey repeatedly stole from Mirfield pensioner Annie Garbutt after she was made Power of Attorney in 2006.
But the 56-year-old was caught out after Hussey’s daughter, Joanne, bludgeoned Mrs Garbutt to death with a spade in May, 2007.
Joanne Hussey, 33, was jailed for at least 20 years for the brutal murder of her 76-year-old frail grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s.
But Hussey was spared jail at Leeds Crown Court yesterday because she is the main carer for her severely disabled granddaughter, Josephine.
Judge Scott Wolstenholme said locking her up would cause “irretrievable damage” to the well-being of the youngster.
Instead she was ordered to pay back the £17,180 she stole and costs, bringing the total to £24,459.
Hussey, of Whincover Drive in Farnley, Leeds, pleaded guilty to 13 offences of stealing cash and cheques from Mrs Garbutt between August 2, 2006, and May 7, 2007.
Sentencing her, Judge Wolstenholme told Hussey: “You had Power of Attorney for your mother, quite properly, as she wanted your assistance to help financial affairs in her declining years.
“But within a month you were helping yourself to her money, over £17,000.
“You may have thought you would not be discovered, but your life was turned upside down when your own daughter murdered your own mother. Of course, there is no suggestion that you had anything to do with that.”
Mrs Garbutt, of The Clough, Mirfield, was suffering with dementia. It was thought she would have to go into a nursing home, which she would have to pay for out of the £35,000 savings she had.
Mrs Garbutt also owned her own home, which may have been sold to fund the cost of the care.
But on May 7, last year, Joanne Hussey brutally killed her with a spade as she lay defenceless in bed. Police believe she struck after fearing she would lose her inheritance.
A post-mortem revealed Mrs Garbutt had more than 25 internal and external injuries and died of multiple injuries.
Maureen Hussey’s actions were only discovered by police as they investigated the murder.
Judge Wolstenholme added: “When people abuse other people’s trust and when they are vulnerable – as your mother was – there is no alternative to a prison sentence.
“But you are the main carer for your granddaughter. Her own mother has been sentenced for life.
“You have borne the brunt of her childcare for a long time now.
“I am satisfied that if that little girl cannot rely on you now, her life will be devastated.
“For that reason I am going to suspend the sentence.
“But you must suffer the financial consequences.
“This was money that, in the end, may have come your way when your mother died of natural causes had her life not brutally been cut short.
“It isn’t right that you should benefit.”
Hussey was sentenced to 50 weeks which was suspended for two years. She will be supervised by the Probation Service for the first three months.
She was also ordered to pay back the £17,180 she stolen or face having her sentence increased by 12 months.
She also has to pay prosecution and defence costs of £7,279.