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Care home worker jailed for stealing from resident

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A care home worker who stole a wedding ring and signet ring from an elderly resident whose wife had died just days before has been jailed.

Emma Skinner, 42, of Thackray Road, Thatto Heath on Merseyside, was working at a care home in Maghull when she stole the rings.

The victim had been married to his wife for 59 years and they had never been parted for any length of time before she died four days before the theft occurred in February 2022. Her death was a complete shock to the family and her husband was devastated.

On the day of the theft, Emma Skinner went into the victim’s room when she was working a shift at the home. The victim was lying in bed and appeared to be asleep.

Skinner took the opportunity to take both the victim's wedding ring from him and a signet ring that had belonged to his father.

However, the victim was not asleep and went out of his room after Skinner had left and reported to staff that his rings had gone. He was extremely distressed. The police were called and Skinner was eventually arrested. She had sold the rings at a nearby pawnbrokers for £165.

She was charged with theft and pleaded guilty at Birkenhead Magistrates’ Court on 4 December 2023. Today (Friday, 5 January 2024) at Liverpool Crown Court she was jailed for 18 months. She must also pay back the £165 to the victim's family.

The man’s daughter read a Victim Personal Statement to the court at the hearing. She said: “Throughout my life I never saw my dad remove his wedding ring, it was unthinkable to him. It was the same with his father's signet ring which was all he had from his father. These two rings meant everything to him and at the time of her death, his wedding ring was the only tangible item dad had left to remind him of my mum.

“When I was told by my brother about the theft of the rings, and how inconsolable my dad was, I remember being utterly horrified that anybody could commit such a callous act towards a vulnerable man, particularly so soon after the loss of his wife.

“When I visited dad the following day, I could see how frightened and bewildered he was whilst explaining what had happened. I was just heartbroken but also consumed with anger and disbelief that someone in a position of trust could treat him like this. The fact that the person responsible for this theft had actually assisted us in searching for the rings and knowing now that she had stolen them, made me feel sick to my stomach.

“I could see the awful effect that this had on dad. Our parents brought us children up with a strong sense of right and wrong , so knowing that someone in a position of trust, somebody there to help people when they are at their most vulnerable, could do what she did is just staggering and has left me completely devastated.

"I feel that I have not yet grieved properly for either my mum or my dad, who sadly passed away himself, just 9 months later.”

Senior Crown Prosecutor Jane Stacey of CPS Mersey Cheshire said: “This has been a very upsetting case to work on. The family of the victim have been deeply distressed at what happened to their father, just days after their mother had so suddenly died.

“Emma Skinner took advantage of the vulnerability of a person she was supposed to be caring for and left him traumatised by the theft of these precious pieces of jewellery.

“She pawned the rings and they have never been recovered. The victim passed away not long afterwards and the Crown Prosecution Service had to apply for his evidence to be admitted as hearsay. 

“Most carers provide an excellent service to those they look after and show compassion and respect. Emma Skinner is the very opposite to that – all she saw was an opportunity ta make some money, no matter what the impact on the victim and his family. The CPS welcomes the sentence in this case.”

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