A care home worker has been jailed after stealing £13,000 from elderly residents in order to feed her spiralling gambling addiction.
Miriam Raine abused the trust of three of the pensioners in her care by taking their bank cards and spending their hard-earned cash on gambling websites.
One of her victims was in palliative care after being diagnosed with leukaemia at the time of the crime.
He expressed his disgust after being used "as a money machine" by Raine while extremely vulnerable.
Another victim, an 87-year-old dementia patient, died before justice was handed out, and his stepdaughter described Raines actions as "unforgivable".
She said: “Families of these victims rely on carers to nurture and care for those who are unable to do so for themselves. To think of this woman causing distress to family members and the victims themselves makes me feel sick, angry and absolutely appalled.
“I can’t get over the fact that she went into my step father’s bedroom, rummaged through his belongings, found what she was looking for and then helped herself.
“To then go on and spend over £13,000 of somebody else’s money is just unforgivable.”
In a statement prepared for court, one of Raine’s victims said: “At the time of the crime, I was lying in bed in a care home having been told I was in palliative care. This was end of life care.
“Whilst I’m lying in my bed drugged up so much I had no idea of how ill I was, I was being targeted by one of the people who was meant to be making me comfortable before I passed away.
“She was in my room, rummaging through my belongings and then stealing my bank card which she used to commit fraud. She was in a position of trust and she broke that trust and nursing etiquette.
“Her priority was to make me comfortable when in fact I was being used as a money machine.
“I am one of the lucky ones who has survived to see this case through. I feel very lucky that I am able to see this case through to the end.”
Raine, 46, confessed to three counts of theft and three counts of fraud by false representation between March and November 2017 during her time working in care homes in Jarrow, North Shields and Ponteland.
On Wednesday a judge at Newcastle Crown Court sentenced her to two years behind bars.
PC Chris Rule, of Northumbria Police, said: “This is a heartless and despicable crime as Raine stole from the very people who she was expected to protect and look out for.
“Her greed and abuse of position saw her steal elderly people’s bank cards in the firm belief that she would get away with it due to her victim’s vulnerabilities."
PC Rule said the police investigation found one of her victim's bank cards hidden in her wardrobe and another victim’s purse lying around her home.
He added: “I am sure that the public are equally horrified by her crimes, so it is imperative that offenders like Raine are brought to justice. I welcome her custodial sentence handed down at court.
“I hope this outcome can offer some comfort to the families of her victims, and I would like to thank them personally for their support and co-operation throughout this difficult case.”
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