A MOTHER-of two pocketed £95,000 which should have gone towards looking after her father in a care home.
Janice Knight, 65, spent the cash paying off a mortgage on a second home, servicing credit card debts and buying a second hand car.
Knight, of Ridgeway in West Parley, took her father William Harris into her home in 2009, when he was in his 80s and suffering from dementia.
She later agreed with her three sisters that he should move into the Engleburn Care Home in Barton-on-Sea.
Prosecutor Tim Moores said Mr Harris’s pension and other allowances were paid into Knight’s account.
She received more than £35,000, some of which was expected to go towards expenses at the home, but it was absorbed into her spending.
She also made regular withdrawals of his pension credits, obtaining more than £8,000.
In 2010 she was granted power of attorney and his home in Dunstable was sold for £79,000, of which £27,000 went to Dorset County Council to cover care fees.
Knight told one sister she had been paying the care home, but in reality, Mr Moores said, she had been transferring money for her own use.
Two cheques she wrote to the care home, totalling £83,000, bounced.
Mr Moores said the total involved in the offences was £94,323.
“It wasn’t fraudulent from the outset but it was carried out over a significant period of time,” he said.
Mr Harris died in 2012. Knight admitted abusing her position of trust and making a false representation to the care home.
She received a two-year suspended sentence and a 240-hour community work order.
In May, she will face a confiscation hearing. Mitigating, James Newton-Price said Knight visited her father regularly and cared about his welfare.
Her debts had grown after she left her job at a holiday park. She had credit card debts of £50,000 and her Weymouth flat was a financial drain. She started going into her accounts and the funds got mixed up.
“There is no indication the money went on high living or treats. It simply dissipated in a year,” he said.
Judge Peter Ralls QC – who read a letter from one sister imploring him not to jail her – told Knight she had committed “an unpleasant crime”.
“You have let yourself down and caused anxiety and hurt to other members of your family,” he added.
As she left the dock at Southampton Crown Court, Knight thanked the judge, adding: “I am really sorry.”