Mum-of-three stole from her stroke victim step-dad

Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.

A mother-of-three who stole more than £1,300 from her stroke victim stepdad after being made Power of Attorney for his finances, walked free from court.

Tracey Fitzpatrick (31) started thieving cash from 70-year-old Michael Johnson, of Burnley, within days of getting a debit card to withdraw money for him from his bank account.

You have shown remorse, are of previous good character and are willing to pay compensation

Magistrate

Fitzpatrick, who claimed she was in debt and owed money to her local council, carried out the planned dishonesty over six months, but was caught out by her victim’s son, Burnley magistrates were told.

The defendant, of Woodbine Road, Burnley, admitted theft on or between February 25th and August 11th.

She received eight weeks in prison, suspended for a year, with 100 hours unpaid work and 12 months’ supervision. Fitzpatrick must pay £1,350 compensation and a £180 criminal courts charge. She had no previous convictions.

Prosecutor Andrew Robinson told the hearing the offence was in breach of trust. Some time ago the defendant’s stepfather Mr Johnson had a stroke and because of that she was made Power of Attorney for his bank account.

Mr Robinson added: “She was given a debit card to withdraw money for him in the future. That was put in place in February and it seems the thefts occurred quite soon after that.”

The prosecutor said the cash was taken in six separate transactions. The money was discovered missing by the victim’s son, with the assistance of his father and a report was made to the police.

Mr Richard Taylor (defending) told the court: “She is very embarrassed about being here and very, very apologetic. This was a man to whom she was close. She visited him many, many times in hospital, took him for appointments and took him to the bank.”

The chairman of the bench said: “You have shown remorse, are of previous good character and are willing to pay compensation.”