A Co Down carer who admitted stealing over £100,000 from an elderly man she looked after has been jailed.
As well as the four-month jail term, Judge David Smyth QC ordered Lesley Boyd to spend a further year on supervised licence.
He told the disgraced care worker that the 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 will lose her home to pay back the monies she used to improve it.
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 that totalled 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 had since died at the age of 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 how the offences were uncovered by Stephen Mullen, a great nephew of Mr McAllister when he was granted power of attorney over his financial affairs and discovered that "large sums of money had been withdrawn by cheques in little over a year".
Mr Mullen had previously offered to look after his great uncle's affairs but his offer was refused because as Mr McAllister put it, "he had someone called Lesley who was helping him".
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, and that within a month of Mrs McAllister passing away in March 2009, Jock had written her a cheque for £5,000.
Describing the elderly couple as "meticulous, regimented people," the lawyer said Mr Mullen discovered that his great uncle had written a total of seven cheques, all to Boyd's benefit, amounting to a total of £113,000.
It was only when Boyd accepted the cheque that her relationship with Jock "became inappropriate and crossed the boundary into criminality," said Mr Magee, adding that it was accepted that at all times Boyd had given proper physical care to both Jock and his wife.
He said it was further accepted that Jock could be a "difficult resident at Sunnyside" as he had a "fondness for alcohol" and it had come to the attention of the management that Jock wanted to give money to "his Lesley".
Mr Magee said Boyd was spoken to and received training in the appropriateness of relationships between staff and their patients with the rule being that staff "could not even accept £20 in a Christmas card" let alone the vast sums she accepted.