A CARER who abused a vulnerable pensioner’s trust by allowing the OAP to buy her thousands of pounds worth of gifts has been spared jail.
Joan Artliff, aged 72, who suffered from a psychiatric disorder and had a compulsive spending habit, bought Angela Padley up to £3,000 worth of gifts from Asda, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
The fraud was uncovered when Mrs Artliff’s son checked her bank account and realised it was £3,000 short.
At a previous hearing, the court heard Mrs Artliff had a history of admission to psychiatric care.
Michael Greenhalgh, prosecuting, said: “One of the symptoms was compulsive or obsessive spending.”
He said Padley worked for Careforce/Mears, and was originally employed to look after Mrs Artliff’s husband, a double amputee, but became her carer after Mrs Artliff’s discharge from hospital.
When the pensioner got better, they agreed privately Padley would take her shopping, because Mrs Artliffe was lonely and anxious for company.
Mr Greenhalgh said: “Mrs Artliff offered to pay for items which had been selected by Padley in lieu of payment for the time and costs associated with taking her shopping.”
He said the gifts were always bought at Mrs Artliff’s suggestion and, as time passed, she became more generous.
He said towards the end of 2010 Padley became uncomfortable with the amount being spent on her and left, asking a colleague to take over.
Padley, of Tennyson Road, Herringthorpe, Rotherham, admitted one count of fraud.
The court heard she was convicted of stealing from her employer in 1989 and in 1999 was given a conditional discharge for benefit fraud.
Dermot Hughes, mitigating, said: “This was not a cynical fraud conceived at the outset, but an offence that developed as the relationship developed.
“Mrs Artliff has a peculiar psychiatric condition which causes her to engage in excessive spending and be, at times, spectacularly generous.”
“My client didn’t know Mrs Artliff suffered from this.”
He said Padley, a mother-of-three, had not lived a ‘lavish’ lifestyle on the back of her offending and suffered from depression and anxiety.
Sentencing her to a 36-week jail term, suspended for a year, Recorder Mr Mark Bury said she had abused Mrs Artliff’s trust and taken advantage of her generosity.
He said: “I accept you didn’t intend from the outset to steal from her and were not aware of her condition which resulted in this generous streak.
“Over six months, you allowed her to pay for items of yours above and beyond ordinary generosity and took advantage of her. It is an unusual case. This isn’t the ordinary sort of theft the court comes across in relation to breach of trust, but you allowed yourself to take advantage of her for financial gain.”
Padley was ordered to attend a victim awareness programme and will be supervised by the probation service for 12 months.