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Careworker who stole over £1k from an elderly client with dementia warned she faces jail

By Nevin Farrell

A careworker who stole £1,347 from a 91-year-old lady client who has dementia has been warned she could go to jail.

Fiona Elizabeth Birch (53), of Tromery Drive, Crumlin, pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation when she appeared at Antrim Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

She admitted dishonestly making a false representation by using a credit card belonging to an elderly lady on November 29 2015.

A prosecutor said Birch worked for Lisburn-based Bluebird Care and it was a case of theft by an employee from a client with dementia.

The woman's family uncovered the fraud when bank statements showed transactions which should not have been there.

The prosecutor said that at one stage Birch called a bank claiming to be the elderly lady and wanting statements sent to a new email but staff became suspicious as she did not sound like a 91-year-old.

Defence barrister Chris Sherrard said Birch has suffered from psychiatric issues and had been in Holywell Hospital in Antrim.

District Judge Oonagh Mullan told Birch: "You were caring for an elderly patient with dementia and you abused that position.

"This is a very serious matter for which there can be imprisonment".

Sentencing has been adjourned to January and Birch was released on her own bail of £500 with conditions that she does not attempt to contact the victim of her fraud or the woman's family or go near her address.

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