'Deeply dishonest': Carer stole £3,000 from disabled client and spent it on Christmas presents

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read
A general view of Canterbury Crown Court in Canterbury, Kent, following the sentancing of Martin Eke who was found guilty of raping his victim, Jacqui Spriddell in 1986. Picture date:Thursday January 26, 2012. See PA story COURTS Rape Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Carer Nicola Beddows was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court in Kent. (PA)

A carer stole more than £3,000 from her disabled client and spent it on Christmas presents, a court has heard.

Nicola Beddows, 53, from Folkestone, Kent, was handed a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, after previously pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.

Judge Rupert Lowe told Canterbury Crown Court she was “deeply dishonest”.

Beddows used the bank card of her client, Chereen Adams, to order £3,137.69 worth of goods on Amazon.

Chereen Adams had thousands of pounds stolen from her by her carer. (SWNS)
Chereen Adams had thousands of pounds stolen from her by her carer. (SWNS)

When police raided Beddows’ home they found presents bought with stolen money neatly wrapped and labelled to friends and family.

They discovered a multi-grill, a pizza maker, a wardrobe, an LCD television, £250 worth of video games and £100 worth of Amazon gift cards, all wrapped and ready to be handed out as Christmas gifts.

Beddows was also ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation, complete 20 rehabilitation days, 200 hours unpaid work and three months curfew from 6pm to 6am.

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She was one of several carers looking after Adams, who suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy and requires constant care.

The court heard Beddows built up a friendship with Ms Adams, who has learning difficulties, then took her bank card.

She started a job at Sandgate Manor care home in Folkestone in April 2019.

Beddows set up an Amazon Prime account for fast and free delivery as she initially used the stolen card to buy a handbag and clothes.

However, she was later caught out when a relative of Ms Adams found a letter from her bank and contacted police.

That October, officers discovered the haul of stolen goods at Beddows’s home.

The court heard Beddows was also caught stealing her mother’s bank card and convicted of taking money by deception in 2005.

Ms Adams has been left “heartbroken” and unable to trust new caring staff after what happened, the court heard.

“I still feel very sad, hurt and emotional about knowing that this happened,” she said.

Ms Adams’s sister, Danielle, said after the sentencing: "It isn't even the money. It is the bond they built up and then she broke that trust.

"My sister adored that woman, thought she was her best friend. And the whole time she was taking her money. I hope and pray she never does this to anyone again."

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Judge Lowe told Beddows she had been “helping yourself to this woman’s money for your own benefit”.

He said: “This continued for six to seven weeks until you were discovered and if you weren’t discovered you would have bled her dry.

“Some of those items were wrapped up to give to people - how generous they would have thought you were.”

Defending Beddows, Phil Rowley said she is “deeply ashamed and remorseful” and “hangs her head in shame”.