A cruel carer stole thousands of pounds from a generous pensioner – who even paid for her to go on cruises and took her on holidays.
Donna White was led sobbing to the cells as a judge jailed her for 10 months and told her: “People who prey on elderly and vulnerable victims will go to prison.”
White was caught red-handed from 84-year-old Diana Bramall after her family became suspicious about money going missing and installed a secret camera in her kitchen in Oxspring, between Sheffield and Barnsley.
Her victim said today she had been ‘knocked for six’ by what a woman she had trusted had done to her.
The court heard Mrs Bramall had been cared for by White and her sister for three years – treating them to cruises and holidays as thanks for their help, as well as paying for the care they provided.
Mrs Bramall’s son Stephen even helped secure play-off final tickets for White and her son when Sheffield Wednesday reached Wembley last season.
Each week Mrs Bramall’s other son Michael cashed a cheque for his mother of between £300 to £400 to allow her to pay her bills and fund her activities.
In August last year, Mrs Bramall asked her son if he was collecting the correct amounts as the money she was getting was less than the amount written on her cheques.
The family decided to install a secret camera in the kitchen – which later showed White repeatedly stealing from her handbag.
Her son Stephen, who lives on the Isle of Man, was only able to view the footage several months later after he collected it to take home to watch.
He said he felt ‘physically sick’ watching someone the family trusted stealing from his mother.
Stephen said several months of footage had not recorded correctly – meaning White was likely to have got away with other thefts.
Mrs Bramall said: “I took them on holiday and paid for them to go on two cruises and took them to Morecambe twice as a thank you because I thought they were doing well for me
“When you see the video, she was straight into the kitchen, straight into my handbag. On time she did it three times and she stole from me on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”
“It made me feel ill, we had been so generous with her, which is why it hurt
“She should have got a longer sentence. At least she has the disgrace of going to prison.
“It was terrible, it has knocked me for six.
“I have been really ill. I have felt as though I have got a good hiding.”
Stephen described the thefts as ‘both brazen and systematic’.
He said his mum had been a fundraiser for Bluebell Wood Hospice for the past 20 years raising almost £100,000.
Stephen added: “It is incredibly sad that a person who has given so much to society should be on the receiving end of such cold callous, behaviour.
“Unfortunately it is likely the CCTV captured only a small number of the thefts and because of the refusal by White to acknowledge any incidents not captured then the full extent of her actions will never be known.
“I think it will be very difficult for mum to trust anyone again.”
Thieving carer Donna White has been left ‘devastated’ after stealing from to ‘someone who treated her as a friend’.
Sheffield Crown Court was told White, of Fir Tree, Thurgoland, who admitted theft, had ‘lost her good character and will carry that shame around for the rest of her days’.
Beverley Tait, prosecuting, said the offences had been caught on camera between November 16, 2015 and March 19, 2016.
She said it was not possible to say how much had been stolen but the prosecution estimated it could have been as much as £3,600.
But Sean Fritchley, defending, said White estimated the amount taken was closer to £1,000.
He said White – who had been a carer since she was 19 – was ‘genuinely remorseful’.
The thefts started after she got into financial difficulties connected with a convenience store she was running with her then-partner.
He said her relationship ended while she was supporting her two sons – one at university and the other dealing with drug problems.
Mr Fritchley said she fell behind paying the mortgage and had to sell the property to a housing association that she then rented it back from.
She had lost her job as a carer with Barnsley Council and was now working in a food processing plant.
“She has been in the caring profession for almost 30 years and I would simply say it demonstrates how distraught she must have been at her financial situation to turn to this,” Mr Fritchley said.
“She is devastated she could have done this to someone who treated her as a friend.
“She has lost her good character and will carry that shame around for the rest of her days.”
He asked for her to be given a suspended sentence in light of her personal circumstances, guilty plea and remorse.
But judge Recorder Anthony Kelbrick said White had carried out the crimes despite being ‘treated almost like a member of the family’.
He said there was no option to punish the ‘total and utter dishonest behaviour’ with a jail sentence.
“People who prey on elderly and vulnerable victims such as you did will go to prison,” he told White.