Carer stole from vulnerable friends

Rebecca Calder, of Bolton Road, Ashton, who stole more than �10,000 from an elderly couple suffering from mental and physical disabilities
Rebecca Calder, of Bolton Road, Ashton, who stole more than �10,000 from an elderly couple suffering from mental and physical disabilities

A FORMER Wigan carer who stole £5,000 from an elderly couple suffering from mental and physical disabilities has been jailed.

Rebecca Calder, 24, of Bolton Road, Ashton, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for nine counts of theft, at Liverpool Crown Court.

She previously admitted the offences at Wigan Magistrates’ Court on November 4 last year.

To make matters worse, the money was stolen after her employment as a carer ceased and began when she started to visit the couple on an informal basis on the pretence of being a friend.

Calder was previously employed by a company called Makerfield Care - who are no longer in business - as a carer although she was not part of the team who looked after the couple at their home in Warrington.

The man, 86, and his wife, both suffered from a number of physical and mental impairments due to their ages, with very poor memories and were largely confined to their home.

Sadly, both the man and his wife have now passed away.

After her employment with the company ceased, Calder visited the house regularly on an unofficial basis having befriended the couple.

Her criminality came to light when the couple’s daughters became concerned when she noticed on her parent’s bank statements that large amounts of cash, in £100, £200 and £300 amounts, were being withdrawn from ATMs almost every other day.

One of those withdrawals was made from an ATM in Ashton at about 2am on April 13 last year, which could clearly not have been either of the victims.

The couple’s daughters also found huge amounts had been withdrawn from their father’s savings account.

Concerned, the women installed a covert CCTV camera at the house which caught Calder red-handed. The secret cameras caught Calder stealing cash from the elderly man’s wallet. The daughters continued their investigation and managed to identify Calder through her Facebook profile, which also showed her wearing the same clothes as when she stole the money.

CTV footage from Barclays Bank of the withdrawal made on April 13 last year also showed Calder was responsible. Just hours after stealing the money, Calder posted a picture of herself at 5.01am on Facebook wearing the same clothes showing her enjoying what appeared to be a night out.

The police were then called. In total, £5,000 was stolen from the couple’s account.

Police Constable Ryan Mackenzie said: “Calder’s actions were utterly reprehensible. Whatever motivated her, there can be no excuse or justification for stealing £5,000 from an elderly and frail couple whom she was supposed to care for and look after.

“It is a heinous and appalling crime, made all the more galling by the audacity to post something on Facebook of her enjoying a night out using cash stolen just hours earlier from an unsuspecting and trusting couple. The fact that when the money was stolen she was not even employed as a carer but pretended to be a caring friend just compounds her despicable actions.

“And one of the saddest parts of this case is that both the man and his wife passed away before they could see justice being done.

“I would like to pay tribute to the tenacity and determination shown by the couple’s daughters. Once they suspected something was amiss, they carried out their own investigation and caught Calder red-handed on secret cameras. The evidence against Calder was therefore overwhelming and no doubt helped to expose her criminality, so I would like to praise the couple’s daughters for doing what this so-called carer should have done and that is protecting a frail, vulnerable couple.

“I hope this case serves as a stark warning to anyone who is put in a position of trust, like Calder was, to look after elderly and vulnerable people. Temptation will clearly be there but do you really want to be known as someone who stole from elderly people? Not only will you have that stigma for the rest of your life, but you could also be facing a long prison sentence.”