A disgraced former Scarborough Hospital healthcare assistant has been told she could be jailed for stealing a £2,000 gold coin from a patient.
Sophie McGarry, 22, admitted to stealing the Krugerrand coin along with other jewellery from Chestnut Ward.
Her trial heard how she tried to pass off the theft when initially confronted – as the victim was just an “alcoholic druggy”.
She initially denied stealing the gold chain and bracelet but admitted the allegations when she appeared at York Crown Court on Wednesday.
McGarry was originally charged with 13 counts of stealing from patents, staff and visitors on various wards at the hospital, but denied all but one of these. The denied matters were then dropped by the CPS, due to lack of evidence.
Judge Stephen Ashurst warned McGarry that jail was a distinct possibility because of the seriousness of the offences and the fact that she’d lied about what she’d stolen.
He said: “I have to take account of the fact that you have not maintained a truthful account of the property taken from (the victim).
“I think you understand that stealing from patients is a serious matter and all options, including custody, will be considered.”
On Tuesday, McGarry’s former partner Liam Andrews, 25, was found guilty of handling former goods following a two-day trial.
Andrews, of East Bank in Burnley, sold the bracelet for £360 to a Lancashire jewellers.
Police carried out checks at the jewellers and officers eventually found that a gold bracelet had been bought by an unsuspecting pawnbroker in Bacup.
When confronted by his brother, Wayne, about this, Andrews said he had owned the jewellery for five years before selling it, but denied ever seeing a Krugerrand ring.
Prosecutor Laurie Scott said that following McGarry’s arrest, another witness came forward who was a friend of the couple when they lived in a flat in Norton.
She told police she once heard the couple arguing about a gold belcher chain.
She said that on another occasion, Andrews told her he had hidden a Krugerrand ring in a wall cavity behind a light switch as an “insurance policy”.
The witness told the court she could not corroborate the statement she gave police because she had since suffered a serious head injury.
He had denied ever being in possession of the Krugerrand coin, chain or bracelet but his brother said he’d seen him with the jewellery.
Andrews and McGarry will both be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on November 18.
McGarry was granted bail until that hearing.
Before the other charges were dropped, McGarry, of Howe Road, faced a trial of evidence to establish what exactly she’d pinched.
However that’s now been scrapped.
A spokesperson from York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our security team worked closely with the police to assist with their investigations and help secure a conviction.
“We would like to reassure patients and staff that creating a safe environment remains our top priority.”
The trust also confirmed that McGarry was dismissed from her role last July.