Carer who stole £17,500 from vulnerable adults with learning difficulties avoids jail

16 July 2023, 22:52

Laura Hancock was spared jailed despite fleecing vulnerable people in her care out of thousands of pounds
Laura Hancock was spared jailed despite fleecing vulnerable people in her care out of thousands of pounds. Picture: CTS

By Chay Quinn

A carer who stole £17,500 from several people with learning disabilities over 18 months has been spared jail.

Laura Hancock, 32, from Ramsgate in Kent, fraudulently told her patients that they had to pay rent in cash in order to steal their hard-earned cash.

She also misused a company credit card to fleece Seeds Care for disabled under 65s from March 2020 and September 2021.

Read More: Covid relief funds defrauded of more than £157bn, says US watchdog

Hancock was a service manager in the home and pleaded guilty to five counts of theft and five of fraud at Canterbury Crown Court and received just a two-year suspended prison sentence and community service.

Seeds Care in Broadstairs, Kent, was Hancock's employer when she was stealing from her patients
Seeds Care in Broadstairs, Kent, was Hancock's employer when she was stealing from her patients. Picture: Google Maps

She had her crimes uncovered by staff members at the facility - after which she was confronted and then confessed before being handed over to police.

In mitigation, her Nargees Choudhury blamed the crimes on a gambling addiction that Hancock had suffered from since she was 16 and also argued that she was caregiver to her mother who is dying of cancer.

Sentencing Judge James Taylor KC told the thief: "This may have been a financial crime for you, but its impact is far beyond financial - victims lost their sense of trust.

"But far from wash their hands of the responsibility to the vulnerable adults that you stole from, what this company did was reimburse their clients.

Craig Fuller, one of Hancock's six victims, told the court: "She literally betrayed me. It makes me think I don't want to trust anyone anymore.

"For what she's done she should have gone straight to jail. It feels to me that she's getting away with this and it's not fair."

Hancock even used one victim, Kallum Ryder, by taking him to a cash point in order to steal his savings under the same subterfuge regarding rent.

Former colleague Zara Reyes was left incredulous by the sentence, adding that Hancock should have spent time in prison.

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