A care home manager from Sheffield stole £42,000 from vulnerable elderly residents to fund her ‘out-of-control’ shopping addiction.
Lynne Thompson, from Smithy Wood Road, Woodseats, was jailed for 32 months at Sheffield Crown Court after admitting stealing from four residents at the Church View Care Home in Kimberworth.
Thompson, aged 45, handed herself into police last November after admitting what she had been doing to her husband and her employers.
She walked into Rotherham police station and declared: “I have stolen this money and I need to be stopped.”
All four of her victims – from whom she stole between £7,900 and £14,499 each – had mental health issues and were ‘particularly vulnerable’.
The residents have had their stolen money repaid by Craegmoor, the company that owns the home.
Peter Pimm, prosecuting, said the money was spent on ‘clothes, gifts and just stuff’ – while Thompson had debts of between £15,000 and £20,000.
Richard Jepson, defending, said a psychological report indicated Thompson may suffer from a form of kleptomania, in which she became addicted to buying items with stolen money.
He said: “While goods were purchased using the monies, most actually were thrown away or given away randomly to completely strangers or languished in a cupboard at home.”
Mr Jepson added: “Things got out of control very quickly.”
Part of Thompson’s responsibility in her job as the care home’s manager, which she started in July 2011, gave her access to the bank and Post Office accounts of some of the home’s residents.
She would withdraw money for them and put it into wallets at the home, recording on a computer system the money she had got for them.
But Thompson would regularly withdraw between £100 and £300 from the accounts, putting a smaller amount in the residents’ wallets and pocketing the rest for herself.
Her crimes only came to light when she confessed what had happened to her husband and then went on to tell her employers and the police what she had done.
Mr Jepson said the case was ‘terribly sad’ and his client was ‘devastated’ by what she had done.
Judge Julian Goose QC said her victims had been ‘particularly vulnerable due to their age and mental capacity’ and there had been ‘abuse of power, position and trust’.
A spokesperson for the home said: “Our top priority is providing the safest and highest quality care to everyone we support.
“As soon as this matter came to light, we immediately reported it to the police and refunded all money to our residents.
“We have been working closely with the authorities in their investigation and fully support this prosecution.”
Prosecutors will now attempt to recover the stolen money from Thompson’s assets to repay what has been lost.