Londonderry care worker caught on camera stealing pensioner's money

Dinah Porter and her husband David
Image caption Dinah Porter and her husband David spent their pension money on groceries

An elderly woman who caught a care worker stealing hundreds of pounds of her pension money has said she feels 'betrayed'.

On Tuesday, a 25-year-old woman from the city, Danielle McDermott, admitted taking £11,000 from two pensioners between August 2013 and May 2014.

She started to care for Dinah Porter, 89, following a bad fall which left her bed ridden.

Mrs Porter's daughter set up a secret recording after becoming suspicious.

She put marked bank notes in her mother's purse and recorded the serial numbers of the notes.

She then placed her mobile phone camera in her mother's bedroom prior to a visit by McDermott.

"The camera was just sitting here so we saw her bending down over something that was there and she put everything out of her way to get at the purse," Dinah said.

"She wasn't that long with me when this all happened. I thought she was a great wee girl, young and lovely.

"When my money went missing we tried everything under the sun to try and catch her doing it," she said.

'Lavish lifestyle'

The matter was reported by the police to McDermott's then employer.

A trust officer then carried out a review of Danielle McDermott's other clients.

The review showed that one client, who had early stage dementia, had her bank account reduced from £11,195 in August 2013 to £474 in April 2014.

A prosecutor told Londonderry Crown Court on Tuesday that the money had been spent on a lavish lifestyle of holidays, hotels, restaurants and spa treatments for McDermott and her partner.

Dinah's son, Raymond Porter, said he was still in a state of disbelief over the treachery.

"Unbelievable. I still can't get over it, (we felt) betrayed and felt very aware of anyone who came into the house, sceptical and unsafe.

"For her to be stealing and then to be spending it on herself, make-up, going away on holidays, clothes, her lifestyle?

"It came from other people and vulnerable people. Old people were all her targets," Raymond said.

Dinah Porter said she was able to forgive McDermott, who is to be sentenced later this week, but her daughter could not.

"I feel they're not well, there's something wrong about stealing from anybody. I couldn't do it. I'm sorry for her in a way.

"She didn't just betray me, she betrayed a lot of others," she said.