'Wicked' Sheffield carer given suspended sentence for stealing over Â£8k from vulnerable man
Judge Rachael Harrison sentenced 60-year-old Phillip Hill to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years, for two counts of fraud, after he admitted stealing £8,725 from a man he was paid to care for.
"You knew you had embezzled these sums of money from this vulnerable gentleman. He died not knowing you were going to plead guilty, when, in effect, you were continuing to call him a liar," Judge Harrison told Hill, of Castledine Gardens, Wincobank.
She added: "You are a wicked man, in your behaviour towards him. You put your needs above the person you were supposed to be caring for. It was appalling behaviour."
Judge Harrison also ordered Hill to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, and a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
During the sentencing hearing on Thursday, Sheffield Crown Court heard how Hill's victim suffered from both learning difficulties and mobility issues.
He was the man's carer for a number of years, through his employment with Carewatch Sheffield.
"It was part of Carewatch's policy for their carers not to withdraw money for their clients, and to be given money in cash for shopping." said Zaiban Alam, prosecuting, adding that the complainant asked Hill to withdraw money for him anyway, to the sum of £120 per week.
Social services launched an investigation after the victim told another Carewatch staff member that more money than he had authorised had been taken from his Post Office account.
It was later discovered that between November 2015 and March 2017, a total of £4,785 more than the man had authorised had been withdrawn from his Post Office account.
A sum of £3,940 had also been taken from the man's Halifax account, which he himself did not have a PIN number for.
When arrested by the police, Hill told officers he only withdrew the requested amount from the man's Post Office account, and claimed he was not aware of his Halifax account.
"The defendant said the complainant was confused," added Ms Alam.
CCTV obtained from the police showed Hill at the Premier Store in Buchanan Road, Parson Cross withdrawing money using the man's Halifax card on March 26 last year, the court heard.
Hill finally admitted his guilt in June 2017, after being shown the CCTV.
Defending, Sebastian Winnett, told the court that Hill had only found out about his victim's death when it was mentioned during a conference with his legal representation, and now found it 'hard to talk' about him.
"He feels deep shame for his behaviour," said Mr Winnett, adding that should he be sent to prison it would have a detrimental impact on his partner and his partner's brother, who he helps to care for.
Judge Harrison said she was just persuaded to suspend Hill's sentence, on account of the numerous health problems he suffers from, his lack of previous convictions and the impact having his liberty taken from him would have on others.