Sussex

Care worker Theresa Stratton guilty of theft from pensioner

Theresa Stratton
Image caption Theresa Stratton denied theft, claiming she had borrowed the money

A care worker has been found guilty of stealing money from a pensioner after the theft was captured on a CCTV camera installed by his family.

Theresa Stratton, 39, stole £130 from the wallet of 74-year-old David Skerritt at his home in Rustington, West Sussex.

She had denied theft, claiming she had borrowed the money with his permission.

Stratton, of Dorset Close, Littlehampton, is due to be sentenced at Chichester Crown Court on 10 March.

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Following a trial at the same court, Judge Christopher Parker QC warned her she would "almost certainly" face a prison sentence, saying there had been a "high degree of betrayal of trust".

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Media captionTheresa Stratton was filmed stealing money from the man she was looking after

Widower Mr Skerritt, who had Parkinson's Disease and has since died, lived alone in his bungalow with carers visiting daily.

Stratton, who was employed by Caremark, first visited him in August 2015.

The trial heard how she helped him to the bedroom on her second visit to use a commode, and then went to his lounge where she was recorded on CCTV taking the money from his wallet.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption David Skerritt had Parkinson's Disease and lived alone at home

Giving evidence, Stratton said she had mentioned to Mr Skerritt she had lost her bank card and needed petrol.

She claimed he had offered to lend her £10, which she took from his wallet with the intention of paying back on her next visit.

Speaking after the verdict Mr Skerritt's daughter, Joanne Martinez, said she was very relieved.

Image caption Joanne Martinez said her father had not felt safe in his own home after the theft

"Dad had carers for seven years and the cameras were because of his Parkinson's and his falls and to work out where he could be struggling in the home," she said.

"It wasn't to catch thieves... so I could not believe what she was doing."

Ms Martinez added her father had not felt safe in his own home afterwards and his health "went downhill".

In a statement, Caremark said the care and wellbeing of its clients was paramount.

"All our staff are vetted, DBS checked and trained in order to safeguard the vulnerable people we care for and therefore this incident of theft by one of our care workers is highly regrettable.

"As soon as the theft was discovered we dismissed Ms Stratton."

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