Private carers law petition bid after Bridlington man was robbed of nearly £200,000

Eric Woodhouse had his life savings stolen by his private carers.Eric Woodhouse had his life savings stolen by his private carers.
Eric Woodhouse had his life savings stolen by his private carers.
A campaign to protect vulnerable older people in law by checking and registering private carers has been launched after a Bridlington man had his life savings stolen.

Anna Woodhouse decided to take the action after her grandad Eric Woodhouse was robbed of nearly £200,000 by his privately employed carers.

Anna was shocked to find out that the people who stole the money could become private carers again once they are released from prison.

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She is now calling for a change in the law to make sure that anyone caring for a vulnerable older person, including personal assistants, must to be checked and registered.

Anna said: “This is the only part of the care system that is not regulated and it seems extraordinary to me in light of these stories of financial abuse that this remains the case.

“I’m hoping people will support this cause by signing and sharing the petition, because this really is everyone’s problem. Everyone is getting older.

“My 96 year old grandfather, Eric, was financially abused by his private carers.

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“They manipulated him and stole his life savings – nearly £200,000 – from him.

“Sadly, he passed away shortly after finding out that the people he trusted had robbed him.

“I had made a couple of programmes for Radio 4 in the past, and it just so happened that in the lead up to the trial, my contact there got in touch to say they were commissioning and did I have any ideas.

“I don’t usually believe in fate, but it was such good timing, it seemed almost as though it was meant to be – so, we put in a pitch and the documentary, My Name is Anna was commissioned.

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“We made it over a couple of months starting during the trial and finishing when they were sentenced to 4 years and 9 months each in prison.

“During the course of making the documentary, I learned that there is a gap in the legislation, which means that private carers (in law, these are termed ‘Personal Assistants’) do not need to be registered or go through any checks.

“Because of this, and because they were convicted of theft (due to a legal technicality which saw the original charge of fraud by abuse of position changed when it came to trial), it means that they could come out of prison and potentially work with vulnerable older people again because they are not automatically barred by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

“What has been really encouraging and has given me strength through this whole ordeal, was the amazing kindness of other people in Bridlington who looked out for my grandpa, helped to raise the alarm, and supported him and us through those dark days after he found out he’d been robbed of everything for which he worked all his life.

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“There are lots of elderly people in Bridlington, and lots of incredible people who care for them. People who commit these crimes should be kept put of the profession and legislation is a crucial way we can help to achieve this important goal.”

Click here to sign the petition.