Care home worker admits stealing life savings of dementia patient

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A SENIOR care home worker has pleaded guilty to stealing the life savings of an 82-year-old patient with dementia.

Bernadette Launder (40) stole more than £21,000 from “vulnerable” Mildred Rigby while working at Dove Court Nursing Home, Burnley magistrates were told.

Launder, of West Street, Burnley, cashed 22 cheques in the space of a year from the victim’s account before staff were alerted by a bank letter saying Mrs Rigby’s account was overdrawn by £1,140.

The defendant, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to the offences before Burnley Magistrates’ Court.

Parveen Akhtar (prosecuting) explained that the offences had taken place between October 1st, 2009 and October 30th, 2010 at the care home in Shuttleworth Street where Launder was a senior member of staff. The court was told that the defendant had stolen a total of £21,544.81 in little over a year from her severely ill victim.

The offences did not come to light until colleagues found Mrs’s Rigby’s account was overdrawn when previously it held more than £19,000 in savings. But on the morning of October 30th last year the defendant walked into Burnley Police Station and admitted stealing a large amount of money from Mrs Rigby.

Miss Akhtar said: “Mildred Rigby is 82 years old and has dementia. She has not got the capacity to retain information.

“The victim was vulnerable. This was pre-meditated offending with a pattern over a year.”

She added that the offences had been a breach of trust.The defendant was bailed until sentencing at Burnley Crown Court on July 29th.