Northampton carer Anthea Butcher spent stolen £23,000 on 'frivolities'

A woman stole more than £20,000 from a vulnerable man she was caring for and used the money to buy "frivolous" items including a feather boa and takeaways.

Anthea Butcher, from Northampton, was hired by the family of Steven Judd, 89, to help with tasks including cleaning.

She was trusted with his bank card but spent £23,374 of life savings over two years, the town's crown court heard.

Butcher, 40, from Ashburnham Road, was jailed for two years and four months.

She had pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of fraud.

The court heard Butcher was paid £10-an-hour to help Mr Judd, who has dementia, around the house.

However, after earning the family's trust she took advantage of the access to his bank card.

Instead of withdrawing money to pay for essentials, Butcher bought items including alcohol, cigarettes and jewellery.

'Breach of trust'

When Mr Judd became too ill, his daughter Helen moved him to a care home. It was then that she went through his finances and spotted a large number of withdrawals had been made - up to £1,000 in a few days.

Judge Adrienne Lucking QC said her actions had deliberately targeted a vulnerable person.

She said it was not the act of a person who was stealing because they needed to put food on the table, describing the spending as "frivolous".

"You generated huge stress and sleepless nights for his family. They had to rule out some care homes because of lack of funds," she said.

Speaking after sentencing, Helen Judd said the defendant was a former pupil of Mr Judd, who had worked as a teacher.

"We thought of her as a family friend at the time - this is a real breach of trust," she said.

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