'Despicable' care worker stole dying officer's debit cards to buy biscuits and handbags

24 September 2021, 11:56

Rebecca Ellis stole two debit cards from cancer patient Fred Bromley.
Rebecca Ellis stole two debit cards from cancer patient Fred Bromley. Picture: West Midlands Police

By Sophie Barnett

A hospital care worker has been branded "despicable and cowardly" after she stole a dying police officer's debit cards to buy a pack of biscuits and more than £100 in clothes.

Rebecca Ellis stole two debit cards from cancer patient Fred Bromley when he was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on February 20 last year.

Ellis used the cards to go on a spending spree while the terminally ill man received care in hospital, where he died a few days later.

The 49-year-old first used one of the contactless cards to buy biscuits at an onsite WHSmith shop within the hospital grounds.

And after that "test purchase" succeeded she went on to use them at various stores, and ordered £126 worth of clothes from Dorothy Perkins online.

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Mr Bromley’s daughter noticed the cards had disappeared and cancelled them on February 24, but this was after Ellis had taken a large amount of money from the accounts.

Ellis stole the cards from the 66-year-old's overnight bag after he was admitted to A&E due to a cancerous hip joint dislocating, Birmingham Magistrates Court heard.

CCTV footage showed Ellis using a blue Nationwide Bank card to make a £2.70 WHSmith purchase for a tub of biscuits.

Other enquiries revealed Ellis used one of Mr Bromley's cards on the Dorothy Perkins website buying clothes in her dress size and handbags.

Mr Bromley – a former West Midlands Police Inspector – sadly passed away not long after the offences had taken place following his battle with hip cancer.  

Ellis was arrested on August 13 at her home in Smethwick, and refused to answer any of the 100-plus questions police put to her in interview.

She denied theft and fraud but was found guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Thursday and was jailed for nine months.

Ellis has been stripped of being able to ever work in the care sector again as a result of her crime.

Investigating officer DC Mark Bates said: "This is a despicable and cowardly act bought about by greed and the total disregard for the suffering of Mr Bromley in his final weeks. 

"Mr Bromley, on finding out he was a victim of fraud, was upset and disheartened as he trusted the staff at the QE Hospital. 

"Mr Bromley died not long after the offence. His daughter Anna is quite rightly disgusted by the actions of Ms Ellis and welcomes the prosecution."