Gambling addict jailed over £10k care home theft

PUBLISHED: 09:46 26 October 2010

Jail

Jail

Archant

A KEWSTOKE care home worker who stole £10,000 from a vulnerable resident to fund her gambling addiction has been jailed for three months.

Sandra Hatherley was looking after the accounts at the Sandpiper care home when she took a female resident’s bank card and repeatedly helped herself to her cash.

The 49-year-old of Clevedon Road, Weston, turned herself in to the home’s manager when she found herself withdrawing hundreds of pounds every week.

Hatherley was arrested and later admitted theft.

Paul Ricketts, prosecuting at Bristol Crown Court, told how gambler Hatherley stole from 43-year-old Collette Sheridan, a resident at the Beach Road home.

She had been taken on as a support worker but was looking after the accounts of the home and the residents from June 10.

Mr Ricketts said that on August 26 Hatherley approached the home’s manager and told him she had done a ‘terrible thing’ and stolen thousands of pounds from Ms Sheridan’s account.

Asked what she had done with the money, Hatherley told the manager: “I gambled it all away.”

She later told police she had hoped to return the cash before it was missed. Indeed, she once repaid £3,000 after a £9,000 online bingo win – but then the thieving continued.

Ian Halliday, defending, said Hatherley’s gambling had already cost her her marriage, and she realised that her offending had been ‘thoroughly wrong, wicked and shameful’.

Mr Halliday added: “She realised the only way of protecting the victim was to turn herself in to her employer, which she did tearfully.”

Jailing Hatherley, Judge Roderick Denyer QC said: “Over a period of several weeks you stole quite a considerable sum of money from a young woman who clearly and obviously was very vulnerable and not capable of managing her own affairs and who was a resident in the home where you worked.

“Collette trusted you. Over a period of time to feed your gambling addiction you stole £10,000 from Collette.

“It’s true that in the middle of this spree you did repay £3,000 when you had a lucky win but you did continue to take money from Collette.”

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