A Cotswold care home worker who ‘ruthlessly and persistently’ defrauded a vulnerable 92 year old widow out of more than £43,000 has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Suzanne Rafferty was working as activities co-ordinator at Jubilee Lodge, Bourton on the Water, when she met a resident who had Alzheimer’s and was receiving respite care, Gloucester Crown Court was told last week.
She ‘forged a close relationship with her and proceeded to plunder her bank account, using her debit card to make daily cash withdrawals as well as buying goods from High Street shops.
Rafferty even had the locks changed on the victim’s house in Churchdown to keep others out.
Rafferty, 59, of Mount View Drive, Winchcombe, denied two charges of fraud, one of abuse of position and fraudulent use of the bank card and one offence of theft between March and May 2019 and claimed she was trying to protect the victim against family members who were taking advantage of her. But the jury found her guilty of all charges by majority verdicts.
Judge Ian Lawrie QC told her: “You gained and won the confidence of this vulnerable and isolated elderly woman.
“You ruthlessly exploited that trust to take control and by doing so gain money totalling £43,904 and other goods.
“By training and experience you would have been aware of safeguarding requirements in your role.
“You clearly chose to circumvent those for reasons of greed. It was clear from the bank statements that you deliberately and repeatedly stole money.”
Charlotte Surley, for Rafferty, said her client maintained she had not acted dishonestly and was acting with the consent of the victim.
“Her course of conduct could be assessed as ill advised, but at no time was it dishonest.”
Rafferty told the court that when she left her employment at the care home on April 24, 2020 she had been in contact with the victim numerous times as they were planning to set a trap to establish who was taking property from the house.
The jury took five hours and 12 minutes to reach their majority guilty verdicts.
Jailing her, the judge said: “You didn’t help yourself when you gave evidence. It was clear to me that you were lying.”
The judge made a restitution order returning all money found in Rafferty’s possession to the victim.