A carer who pleaded guilty to stealing cash from an 81-year-old Alnwick woman was caught in the act on a camera hidden in a clock.
In November, Natalie Lawson, now 22, of York Crescent, in Alnwick, pleaded guilty to theft in a dwelling, in that she stole cash to the value of £120 from Joan Henderson’s home between August 15 and 21 last year.
Mrs Henderson has chosen to speak out, because she wants others to beware of the same happening to them, warning that it could occur to more vulnerable people.
She explained how the stealing came to light gradually, but the family’s suspicions started when her son kept saying that she didn’t seem to have much money in her purse.
“I didn’t think anything of it, because you always have to buy things, like birthday presents,” she said. “Then one of the girls who does my shopping said I only had £50 and I had just had my pension in.”
Not knowing who was doing it as Mrs Henderson is attended to by a number of different carers, the family tried to narrow it down as the only times the carers were alone with her was first thing in the morning or at night.
They put a clock which contained a video camera in her house and caught Lawson in the act, passing the evidence onto the police.
The video, which can be seen on our website, shows Lawson crouching down and rummaging through Mrs Henderson’s handbag after she has left the room.
Mrs Henderson’s daughter-in-law Heather explained that once they thought that Lawson was responsible, they had to pretend everything was normal, prior to the suspicions being confirmed.
“I couldn’t believe it because she was that nice to me,” said Mrs Henderson, who added that she couldn’t tell her husband, who passed away at the end of January, what had happened. “What worries me is that I have got family around me, but they could target people who are on their own and more vulnerable.”
However, she did add that carers had been coming for years and years and she had never had any other problems.
Lawson, who no longer works for Carewatch, was given a community order, including 100 hours of unpaid work. She was also handed a prison sentence of 18 weeks, suspended for 12 months.