Carer Stole Thousands to Fund Online Bingo Habit

Karen Kitson, 42, from Yeovil, has recently been sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to two frauds by abuse of position.

The former carer stole thousands of pounds from elderly and vulnerable victims in Guildford so that she could fund her online bingo habit.

Kitson targeted two people she was supposed to be caring for after she had spent £30,000 of her husband’s army retirement money on gambling in three weeks and also needed money to buy Christmas presents.

Living at Slade Road in Brookwood, Woking, at the time of the offences last September and November, she was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court last Friday. She had pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position.

Lee Harris, prosecuting, said: “Ms Kitson was a carer and worked for a company called Care Connect as a care assistant for elderly and vulnerable people.

“Hr job was to go to people’s homes and provide care to them, assisting with shopping, banking, cleaning and things of that nature.

“She joined that company in August last year.”

Her first offence came to light when the relatives of the 89 year old victim with dementia were looking through her bank statements after her husband’s death and noticed discrepancies.

A total of £9,300 had been taken and Kitson was later identified on CCTV at the cash machines.

She was interviewed on November 1st last year by police. She said she had consent to take the money, as the victim’s husband had asked her to withdraw the cash for him and that she did not steal it.

The second offence took place while Kitson was on bail for the first, between November 6th and November 18th, and she had also been suspended from her job.

A 66 year old Guildford man who has Parkinson’s disease was the victim in this instance. The court heard that she told the victim she had been thrown out of her house by her husband and that she needed money to get her own place.

He lent her £2,190 over two weeks on the promise that it would be paid back and when it was not, he contacted the manager of Care Connects who subsequently contacted the police.

After changing her story several times about when she agreed to pay the victim back, she eventually “told police she had a massive gambling habit and the money she took was for playing internet bingo”, Mr Harris said.

David Castle, defending Kitson, said: “It is quite clear from what both the psychiatrist and probation officer have to say, Miss Kitson on reflection, is extremely remorseful and ashamed about her behaviour.”

Sentencing was Recorder Jonathan Davies who said: “These were serious offences, in effect stealing from vulnerable people.

“In my judgement, although there is no risk of re-offending, this must be met with a custodial sentence.”

Kitson was sentenced to 12 months in jail and told to pay a £120 victim surcharge.

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