A HOSPICE carer who used a dying man’s bank card for a spending spree has been jailed for her “systematic and wicked” crime.

Lynn Hopkin, 54, stole £17,241.60 from Robin Clark as she went about using his money to fund a variety of purchases, including holidays.

A Bournemouth Crown Court hearing on Friday, April 30, was told Hopkin carried out 101 transactions on the card.

This offending started days after Mr Clark was transferred to Forest Holme hospice from hospital in summer 2019.

The spending continued over several weeks, and was discovered when one of his executors visited a cashpoint after his death to find his bank account had been “drained of every last penny”.

Judge Robert Pawson told Hopkin: “This was a systematic and wicked crime against a vulnerable dying individual.”

As reported, the judge adjourned sentencing Hopkin, of Wheeler’s Lane, Bournemouth, in March to see if she could repay the outstanding money.

If she did this, Judge Pawson said it might make a difference to the length or type of sentence handed down.

Mitigating, Robert Grey said: “She has shown remorse by repaying the sum required.”

Sally Daulton, prosecuting, confirmed the £8,727.47 outstanding had been repaid through payments on April 22 and April 23.

Mr Grey said his client had complied with the expectations which the court hoped she would despite her having difficulty paying the money back. The barrister said a suspended sentence with an unpaid work requirement would be suitable.

One of Mr Clark’s executors, Valerie Hoyle, was present at the hearing via video link.

Reading a victim personal statement, Ms Hoyle said a claim from Hopkin that she was a “good friend” of Mr Clark was an “absolutely outrageous lie”.

“If she was such a good friend, would she not have been present at Robin’s funeral,” said Ms Hoyle.

She described the defendant’s crime as “systematic” and “relentless”, adding that she had damaged the reputation of the hospice movement.

Hopkin broke a “very high” degree of trust and “very deliberately” targeted her victim on the basis of his vulnerability, said Judge Pawson.

The court heard Hopkin was deemed to have a low risk of reoffending and a good prospect of rehabilitation.

The judge said he had “carefully considered” if immediate custody was the “only appropriate punishment in all the circumstances”.

“In the circumstances of this case, it seems to me the public would rightly expect someone in your position would receive an immediate custodial sentence,” said Judge Pawson.

The defendant, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to one count of theft at an earlier hearing. This plea was made on a basis she was close friends with Mr Clark and that he authorised the spending to buy gifts when she was caring for him. Judge Pawson determined this was a lie as she changed her account three times on how long she had known the victim and there were no contact details for Hopkin found in the victim’s home. Hopkin was sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment.

Forest Holme hospice is part of Poole Hospital and overseen by University Hospitals Dorset.

Pete Papworth, University Hospitals Dorset’s chief finance officer, said: “The details of this case are shocking, and our thoughts and sympathies are with the patient’s family.

“The staff member was dismissed from the trust in June 2020 after a thorough internal investigation, and we worked closely with the police and our own counter-fraud experts.

“This was an extremely rare case that underlines our determination to work with our partners in supporting prosecutions of this kind.”

  • Dorset Police did not have a custody image of Hopkin.