A DISABLED man has spoken of how he has been left emotionally scarred after the carer he relied on for everything stole from him.
Stuart Hitchen suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), is wheelchair-bound and registered as blind – yet the man he relied on every day stole his credit card and used it without him knowing.
Brian Green – the man who cared for Stuart for four-and-half-years – was found guilty of fraud, and is due to be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court later this month.
Now Stuart and his wife, Suzanne, are warning others to be vigilant, and have spoken of having to rebuild their lives after putting complete trust in Green, and how they feel betrayed.
Green, 45 of Meadowside Avenue, Ashton, admitted one count of fraud, after being caught on CCTV paying for petrol using Stuart Hitchen’s credit card in December last year.
Stuart, of Caldbeck Close, Ashton-in-Makerfield, said: “I cannot stress strongly enough how utterly appalled and betrayed I feel by Brian’s treachery.
“During the time he cared for me, I would never have thought him capable of this.
“Obviously he was CRB-checked before he was referred to me, but I did get on with him and I believed he was a good friend – this is why it is all the more difficult to deal with.”
Mr Hitchen, a former medical representative, was diagnosed with MS in 1995.
Green was referred to him by an agency on behalf of social services, and he believes that because he inevitably became so close to his carer, he has found it even harder to take.
He said: “Brian was actually introduced to us through Wigan Social Services, who explained to us that he was currently employed by a care agency.
“After a relatively short period of time, we decided to employ Brian direct through direct payments.
“He had a clear CRB, and had come recommended by social services, so we thought he could be trusted.
“Brian was a friend and became almost part of the family.
“My wife and other family members trusted him.
“Over the years, he has seen me deteriorate physically to such an extent that I no longer have any use of my limbs, and am now registered blind.
“He has witnessed me utterly vulnerable and at times reduced to tears, as I have become increasingly dependent on others for my needs.”
Stuart’s wife Suzanne, 50, said: “Stuart told me that he couldn’t find his credit card, and after a thorough search to no avail, I investigated further.
“When the awful truth was revealed, it hurt more than anything to know that somebody we put so much trust in could betray us in such a manner.
“At least now it will be on his record, and he will never be allowed to work with vulnerable people again.
“Our neighbours and friends were equally disgusted by Brian’s deceit.
“There’s no question that Stuart has deteriorated quite dramatically over the last eight months – stress and anxiety are recognised key factors in exacerbating symptoms of multiple sclerosis.”
Green will be sentenced on September 19.