Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Morecambe carer jailed second time for theft

A carer from Morecambe has been sentenced to 24 months imprisonment for stealing more than £4,500 from two elderly ladies that she cared for - one of them in her nineties.

54-year-old Karen Higgins of Wilson Grove, Heysham, befriended both of her victims: one was a 99-year-old lady and the other was a disabled pensioner in her late 60’s. The offences were uncovered after an investigation by Lancashire Constabulary’s Financial Investigator DC Steve Dixon.

Higgins cruelly convinced them she was a person who could be trusted with their private information and in doing so gained access to their bank accounts, she then abused her position by paying her own bills and stealing money from them.

At an earlier hearing she pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft with a further five charges to lie on file.

Higgins admitted to stealing £2133 from the 99-year-old lady and £2417 from the disabled victim.

This is the second time she has been convicted for stealing money from vulnerable clients she was caring for.

In June 2012, Higgins was jailed for 16 months for stealing £31,000 from a 95-year-old lady. She has since been released but during that time police investigated her for the offences she has now been convicted of.

Today (Tuesday 14th May) Karen Higgins was sentenced at Lancaster Crown Court.

Speaking after the sentencing DC Brian Shepherd from Lancaster CID said: “When Higgins was originally sentenced her defence counsel told the court that this offence was a 'one off'.

"We felt this was not the case and following a thorough investigation two further vulnerable female victims of Higgins were identified.

“Both ladies have been left feeling extremely upset and embarrassed that someone they had liked and trusted and had even regarded as a friend, has done this to them.

"Higgins is a truly wicked woman who selfishly exploited the trust of two very vulnerable housebound ladies, the vast majority of carers do a fantastic job and I hope that Higgins is never given the opportunity to work with vulnerable people again.

“I would like to pay tribute to the two victims involved who despite their vulnerabilities helped the police fully with the enquiry and I am glad they were spared the ordeal of appearing at court."

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