A carer who took advantage of an elderly man’s love and infatuation with her when she accepted more than £100,000 in gifts was yesterday jailed for four months.
As well as the jail term, Judge David Smyth QC ordered Lesley Boyd to spend a further year on supervised licence.
He told the care worker that public interest demanded a jail term to protect the most vulnerable members of our society but that he was taking account of the fact that Boyd had pleaded guilty and will lose her home to pay back the monies she used to improve it.
The judge said while he accepted that there was no evidence of extortion being involved in the offences, “you accepted money that you knew you should not have and your conduct had become criminal”.
Lesley Dorothea Helen Boyd, 56, from Chippendale Avenue in Bangor, Co Down, had admitted six counts of fraud in relation to the writing of six bank cheques from the account of Cecil McAllister totalling more than £61,000. The cheques were drawn in 2009 and 2010. Boyd also pleaded guilty to the theft of £44,000 belonging to Mr McAllister, who has since died, aged 93.
Prosecuting lawyer Sam Magee said while it was not the Crown case that Boyd “schemed or planned to defraud this man ... this was a carer who knew where the line was drawn and overstepped it by a very large margin”.
He told the court when Stephen Mullen, a great nephew of Mr McAllister, was granted power of attorney, he discovered “large sums of money had been withdrawn by cheques in little over a year”.
He recounted how the pensioner, who was known as Jock and his wife Nan, had been residents in Sunnyside care home in Bangor where Boyd worked since they sold their home in 2006 and that within a month of Mrs McAllister passing away in March 2009, Jock had written Boyd a cheque for £5,000.
The lawyer said Mr Mullan discovered his great-uncle had written seven cheques, all to Boyd’s benefit, amounts to a total of £113,000.
Jailing Boyd, Judge Smyth said her behaviour would have been seen as dishonest by right-thinking people.
He said there “is a clear public interest in ensuring that vulnerable people in nursing homes are not exploited”.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Mullen said “there is absolutely no winners here”.
“Those in a position of caring need to go above and beyond to make sure that they’re safeguarding the people that they’re looking after.”