Care home manager jailed for stealing money from residents

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A CARE home manager who stole thousands of pounds from two vulnerable residents was today (Friday) jailed for 12 months at Lincoln Crown Court.

June Ann Walters, who at the time was manager of Priory Court Care Home in Stamford, was trusted to run the financial affairs of two residents who both have severe learning difficulties.

Jonathon Dee, prosecuting, said Walters was supposed to use the victims’ state benefits to pay for their care home fees but instead took their money and spent it on herself. She was caught out by a colleague who checked a bank statement for one of the victims and discovered transactions which could not have been made by the resident or made on her behalf.

Investigations revealed Walters used the woman’s money to buy a £300 fridge freezer from a store in Oakham.

Walters also bought clothes and groceries and paid for a train trip to York where she used one victim’s account to buy expensive chocolates as a Christmas present for staff and residents at the home.

Mr Dee said: “There were a large number of cash withdrawals. A number of these transactions occurred in the week leading up to Christmas.”

Walters also took money from her second victim after arranging for most of her benefit money to be paid into Walters’ own account. This victim ended up more than £3,000 in arrears with her care home fees.

Mr Dee said: “(The victims) both had severe learning difficulties. They have no concept of money or finances and are unable to look after their own affairs.

“Throughout these proceedings they have been unaware of the defendant’s actions. Walters was in a position of trust being an appointee to their bank accounts.”

Walters, 54, of Queen’s Road, Uppingham, admitted three charges of theft between December 2008 and December 2010 involving £8,574 stolen from one victim and £5,496 from the other.

Judge Sean Morris described the actions of Walters as “a monstrous breach of trust”.

The judge told her: “I cannot avoid an immediate custodial sentence. What you did was unforgivable. You are an intelligent woman with good training. You must have known exactly what you were doing and that it was wrong.”

Judith Brennan, mitigating, said Walters was suspended from her position as soon as the matters came to light and later resigned.

Walters subsequently obtained work in a factory but lost that job after details of the charges she faced became public knowledge.

“She is a lady of previous good character who fully accepts she was put in a high degree of trust.

“She was interviewed by the police on two occasions and made full admissions. She was open and honest to them.

“Her work was her whole life. She is a trained nurse and will, no doubt, not be able to get work in that field again.”

Mrs Brennan said that at the time of the offences Walters was in financial difficulty and her home was eventually repossessed.