A care home deputy manager who stole more than £14,000 from the bank accounts of residents with learning difficulties has been jailed for two years.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that, as a trusted senior member of staff, she had access to residents’ accounts and would withdraw money for them to spend every week.
But she falsified the amounts they requested, squirrelling away thousands of pounds for herself between September 2008 and September 2013.
Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, said in total she stole £14,646.84.
Nichols, of Kiveton Lane, Kiveton Park, Rotherham, pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by abuse of position.
Her crimes came to light after staff noticed discrepancies during the weeks she was in charge of going to the bank.
Miss Gallagher said that, days after she was dismissed, Nichols took an overdose and wrote three suicide notes admitting her guilt.
She told police she didn’t know why she had done it and said she had spent all the money.
The court heard her husband had a well-paid job and had since repaid all the money she stole.
Andrew Swaby, defending, said Nichols was going through the menopause and her mother had died.
There were shouts of ‘yes’ from the public gallery as Judge Peter Kelson QC jailed Nichols, telling her the sentence he imposed had to deter others.
“The system relies on honesty on the part of people in your position, and for five years and eight months you were dishonest,” he said.
“This is fraud involving the deliberate targeting of a large number of vulnerable victims.”
Detective Constable Jenny Elsley said afterwards: “This was a flagrant abuse of trust. Staff and residents have been left feeling devastated - but thankfully her crimes were uncovered.”