A CARE worker from Gainsborough who stole cheques and a building society book from an 87-year-old woman and tried to obtain almost £40,000 has been jailed.
Richard Watson (right) made out three cheques to himself, totalling £17,000, after stealing them from her handbag and when, one by one, they all bounced he hit on another plan.
This time, while she slept in her room in a Merseyside care home, he sneaked in and he stole her building society book from her handbag, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
Watson, 38, then took it to a Halifax branch where he filled in a withdrawal form and successfully obtained a £7,000 cheque which he banked.
A week later he rang the home, Fulwood Care Home in Aigburth, and said he would not be coming back to work and was returning to his home area of Lincolnshire to be near his family, said Damian Webb, prosecuting.
He later went back to the building society office and was issued with another £7,000 cheque - though this was later stopped.
The next day, 22nd February, he again went to the office and made the same request but was challenged by staff and the pass book was seized.
Watson, of Bridge Road, Gainsborough, pleaded guilty to two theft offences and six of fraud.
His lawyer, Wendy Shurrock, said that Watson, who suffers from bi-polar depression, had committed the offences ‘out of desperation rather than greed’.
He has mental health difficulties and been badly affected by his mother’s death in 2010 and wanted to go back to his home town and buy a head stone for her grave.
Jailing Watson - who has no previous convictions - for eight months, the judge Recorder Denis Watson QC said he did not underestimate his mental health difficulties, though pointed out that he had not bought the head stone.
“She was a vulnerable victim and you abused your position of trust in relation to this lady which unhappily was not an isolated episode. It was a sustained course of conduct over a number of weeks in January and February last year,” he said.
“You switched from one form of fraud to another and the case is so serious only a custodial sentence can be justified,” added Recorder Watson.