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Jail for thief who stole disabled woman’s £20k

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 09, 2014

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A DISABLED Burton woman’s bank accounts were ‘bled dry’ by a fraudulent friend who lived with her, a judge heard.

Ann Harris systematically plundered the money used by 25-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Catherine Jones to pay for her carers.

Andrew Wallace, prosecuting, told Stafford Crown Court that Harris got hold of two bank cards belonging to the victim and their PIN numbers and over a period of 18 months stole a total of £19,421.

Harris, 53, from Burton, was jailed for 20 months after admitting two charges of dishonest false representations.

Judge Mark Eades told her: “This is a serious case - you took advantage of your friendship with a very vulnerable person.”

Mr Wallace said the case involved breaches of a high degree of trust.

Ms Jones had been living independently for the last four years and had come to know Harris and her partner, whom she fondly called ‘mom and dad’.

The couple eventually moved in with her.

Harris found a Santander bank card used to pay Ms Jones’s carers, who visited her four times a day.

“That account was bled dry by this defendant of just under £10,000.”

The same happened to an HSBC account belonging to the victim, from which a similar amount was taken.

Several hundred pounds of it was spent on an iTunes account.

The frauds came to light when there was no more money left in Ms Jones’s accounts.

When first questioned, Harris was evasive, but then made a full admission to the police. She said she had been withdrawing £200 to £300 a week from the accounts.

Harris, who was not represented, told Judge Eades: “I’m extremely sorry for what I did.

“I should have dealt with it differently as regards getting my benefits back.

“It just got worse and worse and for that I am sorry.”

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