Care home worker admits stealing life savings of dementia patient

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

By The Newsroom
Monday, 27th June 2011, 4:48 pm

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.

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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.