BBC News, Lancashire (UK).
Wednesday, May 10, 2006.
A carer who stole a blind woman's savings by replacing £10 and £5 notes with bits of paper has been jailed.
Sylvia Floyd, 46, swapped the £940 Ella Slezak, now 79, had been saving for charity and put correctly-sized pieces of paper in place of the notes.
Floyd, of Blackburn, Lancashire, also took £3,200 from Mrs Slezak's account.
At Preston Crown Court, Floyd admitted two counts of theft and one of obtaining services by deception and was jailed for four months.
When Mrs Slezak realised the money had gone, her carer said she had a cheque for her.
But the "cheque" Floyd handed over was a takeaway menu placed inside a job centre leaflet.
'Suspicions of dishonesty'
Judge Jonathan Foster QC sentenced Floyd, of Melville Drive, to four months for each count, to run concurrently.
He told Floyd: "Ella Slezak is a woman in her late 70s and over the past seven years she came to rely on you. She was not only elderly but blind. I sincerely hope you have learned your lesson."
David Macro, prosecuting, told the court that Mrs Slezak had known Floyd for almost 40 years and the pair had been very close.
Floyd had been working as a cleaner at Devonport Court on Belle View Street in Blackburn, the sheltered accommodation in which Mrs Slezak was living.
But the court was told that Floyd had been sacked after "suspicions of dishonesty" arose in relation to another resident. She continued to visit Mrs Slezak as an "unofficial carer".
In September last year social services noticed that Mrs Slezak's bills were in arrears.
When they spoke to the pensioner she opened her handbag and told them she should have three envelopes in there containing £940 that she had been saving to donate to charity.
There was no money in envelopes, just bits of paper.
Floyd had also withdrawn £3,200 from the pensioner's bank account and applied for a credit card in her name.
Defence barrister Roger Baldwin, QC, admitted that Floyd, has committed a "mean and despicable" crime but told the court she had not been living in luxury.
He added that she had been shunned by relatives and friends.
RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
HM Courts Service http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/
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