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Carer jailed for stealing £5,000
A CARER stole more than £5,000 from an elderly woman with cerebral palsy in her care.
Jolanta Szczap, 40, was paid to look after 64-year-old Mary Edwards, who also has learning difficulties and poor eyesight, for two years.
But the Diverse Abilities Plus worker kept Miss Edwards’ cash card and frittered away £5,314 of her money in 36 transactions.
She had been trusted with the PIN number to help Miss Edwards with her day-to-day living, prosecutor Stuart Ellacott told Bournemouth Crown Court.
Charity bosses discovered the missing money in December last year and police found receipts at Szczap’s flat in Walpole Road, Bournemouth.
Mitigating, Thomas Horder said his client had become depressed while trying to divorce her husband, who lives with her son back in Poland.
Well-qualified Szczap, who had been working in the care industry for seven years, felt isolated, had trouble sleeping and began drinking heavily, he said.
Mr Horder said: “She will never be able to work as a carer again. That is really her biggest regret. She doesn’t know what she will do with the rest of her life.”
Szczap pleaded guilty to fraud in June. Handing her eight months in jail, Judge John Harrow said: “A person like Miss Edwards has to place her trust in a trusted person and you committed a double breach of trust: once to your employers and more importantly to this lady.
“It is difficult to think of a worse example of a breach of trust.”
He added: “The public and severely disadvantage people are entitled to put their trust in people like yourself, who should act accordingly.”
A Diverse Abilities Plus spokesman said later: “The missing funds were found through procedural checks. Families were immediately informed and took over from there.”
Insurance had covered the missing funds and the matter was resolved in the charity’s eyes, he said.