Care worker caught stealing on CCTV sentenced

31/07/2014

A care home worker caught on camera stealing money from an elderly man under her care has been sentenced today at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

Clare Louise O'Hara, 38, of Thornaby was given a sentence of 18 weeks, suspended for 2 years, after being found guilty at trial of theft. She was also ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge and £770 costs. The charge related to her taking money from Patrick Murray, then 79, a resident at the Stainton Way Care Home in Middlesbrough where O'Hara worked.

 

The case against OHara had been brought after she was caught stealing the money on a hidden CCTV camera. The camera had been hidden in Mr Murray's room by his family, after they became suspicious about sums of cash disappearing. When challenged, O'Hara had claimed to police that the Mr Murray had instructed her to take the money.

 

Sadly, Mr Murray passed away two weeks prior to the trial but prosecutors made an application to have an earlier written statement he had made accepted as evidence. During the trial, Mr Murray's own words were used by prosecutors to counter the false claims made by O'Hara.

CPS Prosecutor Lynne Plowman-Roberts, said: "There are clear and stringent guidelines governing the provision of professional care to ensure the continued dignity and wellbeing of vulnerable people. Every person working within this sector has a duty of care to the patients or residents under their safekeeping, a duty which is diligently carried out on a daily basis by the overwhelming majority of care staff.

"Crimes of this nature can be incredibly damaging because they can erode the professional trust upon which all care provision is founded. I would like to extend my thanks to the staff at Stanton Way Care Home who, when made aware of O'Hara's actions, gave their full support to both the investigation and prosecution of this case.

"Tragically, Mr Murray himself passed away in the weeks before this trial began, but I would hope that todays sentence brings a measure of comfort to his family at what must be a difficult time."