Cleaner stole £3,000 from disabled woman

Rachel Parkinson leaving Bradford Crown court

Rachel Parkinson leaving Bradford Crown court

CASE: Accused Rachel Parkinson leaving Bradford Crown Court

First published in News
Last updated

A CLEANER who betrayed a disabled woman's friendship by stealing £3,000 from her should be made to work hard to repay the money, her victim told a judge at Bradford Crown Court.

Rachel Parkinson withdrew up to £300 a time from cash machines after she was trusted with the multiple sclerosis sufferer's bank details and given a key to her specially adapted bungalow.

Parkinson, 30, of Harrogate Street, Otley Road, Bradford, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation, between August 24, 2011, and April 5, 2013.

Prosecutor Kate Batty said yesterday that Parkinson's 66-year-old victim's symptoms included memory loss, mobility problems and poor eyesight.

Parkinson was employed to clean her home for two hours a week, earning up to £12.

She became a close friend of her victim after trust was built up between them.

The woman asked her to withdraw sums of £50 for her because she was unable to see the screen at the cash machines.

Parkinson at first acted honestly and she was loaned money by her employer.

But when she lost another of her jobs, she started to steal cash using the bank card and pin number.

Mrs Batty told the court the disabled woman's registered carer became suspicious when she saw larger than usual withdrawals recorded on bank statements.

She arranged for the locks to be changed at the Bradford bungalow and the police were alerted.

Parkinson told investigating officers she had done extra work at the bungalow to try to make up the cash shortfall.

A victim impact statement spoke of the woman's distress and disgust that she had been targeted.

She now felt it was stupid to trust Parkinson and she would be more wary in the future.

"She feels the defendant took advantage of herself and her disability. She would like her to have to earn the money to pay her back," Mrs Batty said.

Judge John Potter read a series of references about Parkinson and heard she had no previous convictions.

He said her guilty plea had saved her victim the ordeal of having to give evidence in court.

But it was a selfish offence, showing a lack of care and a breach of a high degree of trust.

Parkinson was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a probation service activity requirement.

She must obey a three month overnight curfew and pay £50 compensation, found to be the sum of her assets,

Judge Potter urged her to find work to repay the rest of the money.

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