6:00pm Thursday 13th March 2014
A carer who plundered the bank account of a vulnerable man she was supposed to be looking after has been jailed today (Thursday).
Laura Jane Nichols, aged 26, admitted stealing from the bank account of the man, from Fishguard, “40 or 50 times.”
She got away with almost £10,000 before a colleague at Elliots Hill Care Ltd temporarily took over her duties and realised what had been happening.
Nichols, of Vale Court, Houghton, looked visibly shocked as the judge, Mr Recorder Ian Wyn Lloyd Jones, told her he would not be doing his job if he suspended the sentence.
Nichols sobbed in the dock at Swansea crown court as she was jailed for eight months.
Paul Hobson, prosecuting, said Nichols even cashed in the man's tax sheltered ISA investment so she could get her hands on more money.
Nichols had been a team leader responsible for looking after the 41 year-old, who needed round the clock care.
He was unable to handle his financial affairs and Nichols had been entrusted with his bank card and his pin number.
She withdrew a total of £9,831 without his knowledge or permission and told police that she spent it on “rent, clothes and everyday living.”
Geraint Walters, the barrister representing Nichols, said the offending had happened during a “calamitous” time in her life that included the end of a relationship and a decrease in her earnings.
“She found herself living beyond her means,” he added.
“She was not functioning. She either turned to drink or simply locked herself away.”
Mr Recorder Jones said he noted that Nichols had once been cautioned by police for stealing from an employer by inventing a refund.
Despite that she had managed to find new employers willing to trust her, only to turn to stealing once more.
“You were working for a company caring for vulnerable adults.
“On dozens of occasions you helped yourself to the victim's money. You even transferred his ISA into a current account to get access to it.
“This was repeated offending by someone in a position of trust. You were there to look after him, not to take his money,” he added.
The court heard that Elliots Hill had already refunded the victim.
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