A Bulwell care home manager conned cash out of an elderly resident with dementia then went on the run for three years, a court was told this week.
Lorraine Morley, 59, admitted a charge of fraud at Nottingham Crown Court this week, when she had worked at the Springfield Care Home on Lawton Drive.
Her crime came to light in February 2012 when other staff members had concerns that cash was being taken from a resident.
The director of the home spoke to the elderly resident, who told them that Morley had taken her to the bank and made her withdraw money.
In a confused state, the long-standing resident was distressed because she felt without her money she would not be able to buy clothes or food and feared she would be thrown out of the home.
Morley, of Maes Emlyn, Rhyl, North Wales, denied taking the cash, but the Care Quality Commission and the police were brought in.
Investigations found CCTV from two banks in the town that showed Morley and the elderly resident in the branches, withdrawing £600 from each.
But before the case could progress, Morley moved out of the area and attempts by the police to trace her, failed.
They finally caught up with her living in North Wales earlier this year, and after being arrested, admitted taking the £1,200.
Defending, Digby Johnson, said Morley was of previous good character and had no previous convictions.
He said she had made her way up from care assistant to manager, and had been the longest serving staff member at the home.
But he said her life began to unravel in 2005 when her husband was left incapacitated by a unsuccessful knee operation, and he struggled to find work.
When the benefits system was changed in 2010, their debts spiralled.
By this point her husband was drinking too much and felt she had no-one to turn to.
Mr Johnson said: “In desperation and weakness, she resorted to dishonesty.”
Their house was repossessed and she went to live with her son in North Wales, to where she was eventually traced by police.
The judge, Recorder Peter Cooke, told her: “What a very sorry state of affairs for a lady who cared for elderly people to let herself down as badly as she did.
“I accept that life has dealt you a number of unfortunate hands, but for you to resort to taking the money from an elderly lady with dementia is a terrible thing to do.”
He handed her a 10-month suspended jail sentence, and added: “You can live with the shame of this without having to put up with the clang of the prison door.”
She was also ordered to carry out 100 hours community service and pay back the £1,200 to the home, who had already reimbursed the resident from their own coffers.