A woman who used her elderly mother’s care home funds to put a deposit on a house and go on holiday has been spared prison.
Linda Jarratt-Jordan, 57, a hospital ward clerk, was given power of attorney over her mother’s finances when the elderly victim was moved into a care home in Scarborough.
But the divorced mother-of-two withdrew just over £20,000 of her mother’s funds which were supposed to pay for her care fees, York Crown Court heard.
Jarratt-Jordan transferred the money into her own account and spent the cash on a holiday, a deposit on a house and to repay a loan, said prosecutor Mehran Nasiri.
The cash withdrawals were made over a five-month period between March and August 2016.
However, Mr Nasiri said that Jarratt-Jordan, from Scarborough, did not intend to deprive her mother of care and all the fees had ultimately been covered.
The victim’s care arrangements had not been affected and the money had been paid back after Jordan-Jarratt cashed in her pension.
Jarratt-Jordan claimed she thought the £20,000 she spent on herself would simply be discounted from any state financial assistance towards her mother’s care.
But she ultimately admitted she had spent the money on herself until the funds had run dry by late 2016.
“She said her intention was not to cause her mother hardship, (but) simply to get the state to pay, rather than exhaust her mother’s assets,” said Mr Nasiri.
Jarrett-Jordan had been given power of attorney over her mother’s finances in 2012, when the victim lived in a flat in in Plaxton Court.
Her mother had to be moved into a care home in January 2016 due to her failing health and her flat was sold for over £50,000, which was to be used to pay for her care.
“Between March 20 and August 10, 2016, the defendant withdrew money (from her mother’s account) and deposited amounts into her own account, which she used to repay a personal loan, (for) a holiday and other items,” added Mr Nasiri.
Towards the latter part of 2016, when the funds had dried up to the extent that her account was overdrawn, Jarratt-Jordan made an appointment with North Yorkshire County Council’s Adult Social Services and asked them to take over the funding of her mother’s care.
The department launched an investigation and the “highly-esteemed” hospital clerk was arrested on suspicion of theft after the cash transfers had been discovered.
Jarratt-Jordan, of Newby Farm Road, told police her actions were “not dishonest; (that) she had taken money that she thought she was entitled to take”, said Mr Nasiri.
She initially denied one count of theft but later changed her plea to guilty and appeared for sentence on Friday.
Defence barrister Andrew Semple said Jarratt-Jordan had a “very close” relationship with her mother.
She was held in high esteem by family and colleagues at the York Hospitals NHS Trust to whom she had given over 20 years’ service “above and beyond her duty”.
Mr Semple said she had led a hitherto blameless life, adding: “It is to her great shame that (her good character) has been dented, if not lost”.
He said Jarratt-Jordan should be able to return to her work at an intensive-care unit, but this would depend on an NHS panel decision.
Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told the defendant: “I’m certain that (your mother) would have wanted you to have as much money from the sale of her flat as possible.
“Unfortunately, what one wants and what the law allows, don’t coincide, because the Government needs to pay for the long-term care of the large elderly population, and what can’t happen is for people to simply plunder the savings of people in care homes so that they get the money rather than the state.
“You have lost your good character which was precious to you, and your standing in society will no doubt be badly affected by your dishonesty.”
Jarratt-Jordan was given a seven-month suspended jail term with 100 hours’ unpaid work. She was also made to pay £750 costs.