A GREEDY carer who moved a frail 92-year-old man more than 60 miles to steal and spend his life savings has been jailed.
Sarah Jones (44), of Beech Close in Maltby, was sentenced to three years for moving £80,000 out his bank account and spending £40,000 of it on shopping, a holiday and a car for her daughter.
It emerged at Sheffield Crown Court that victim Fred Deacon was let down by social workers after twice telling them he believed Jones was stealing from him.
On one occasion, a complaint was even referred back to Jones herself to investigate.
Jones, also known as Sara Stone, first appeared in court a year ago but proceedings were delayed by concerns for her health.
The carer, who moved Mr Deacon from Leicester to Maltby, initially denied fraud but changed her plea to guilty in March.
A judge told her on sentencing her on Friday that her offending was “extremely serious” and “significant custody” was inevitable.
An earlier hearing was told that in 2012, Mr Deacon - described by prosecutor Mr Richard Thyne as “a bit confused and a bit of a loner” - was living in sheltered accommodation.
Just two days after meeting Mr Deacon, Jones, who worked as a carer for Leicester City Council, moved £5,000 from his bank account into another one.
Weeks later, she moved a further £55,000 into a new account she set up online, and £20,000 into a third account.
In February 2013, Mr Deacon fell and was admitted to hospital. Jones discharged him without telling her bosses and moved him 60 miles to Maltby.
She lied to her victim that his flat was being fumigated and told his new neighbours that she was his niece.
The court heard Jones would also take Mr Deacon to cashpoints and have him withdraw money.
A total of eight withdrawals amounting to £1,850 were made while he was in hospital.
Leicester housing officers grew suspicious that Mr Deacon had not returned from hospital by April 2013.
When police tracked him down, Mr Deacon told them that he believed Jones was doing nothing wrong.
He said: “I think she’s a nice woman. I think it’s in her nature to be helpful,” adding that he would like to be home in Leicester, living with Jones as romantic partners.
Mr Thyne said Jones had failed to document Mr Deacon’s financial dealings and was “aware of his vulnerabilities”.
Jones denied all wrongdoing, telling police she had received money from a millionaire sister.
But Mr Thyne said Jones had forged receipts from Mr Deacon to cover her tracks once police were involved.
Mr Mark Watson, mitigating, said the care Jones had provided was “better than it had been in sheltered accommodation”, with regular visits and days out.
He added: “This is not a woman who otherwise behaved cruelly to him, quite the reverse.”
Mr Watson asked Judge Michael Slater to suspend any jail term on account of Jones’ ill health.
But Judge Slater said trial delays had largely been Jones’ fault. He told her: “A doctor has said your health situation is more to do with you being caught than any pre-existing condition and that is the view I take.
“Only significant custody can be merited.”
Judge Slater heard that Jones had two previous convictions for dishonesty, although lawyers were contesting them.
A charge of kidnap against her was to lie on file, the judge said.