Care home boss jailed over thefts

A CARE home boss in Barnsley stole nearly £20,000 from the life savings of two mentally ill brothers, a court heard.

Christine Dawber, 55, also raided the bank accounts of 13 other vulnerable adults supposedly in her care and spent the cash on a cruise to Russia and furniture, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

Jailing her for 15 months, Judge Simon Lawler said: "This is the gravest possible breach of trust."

The court heard she stole a total of 23,746 from residents at Lindhurst Lodge at Athersley, Rosehill House in Dodworth and Hunningley Grange in Stairfoot while the pub business she ran with her husband was heavily in debt.

Her thieving was only uncovered when one of the brothers died and a relative checked the bank account.

Dawber immediately wrote a letter of confession to management, along with a cheque for 3,000, saying: "I won't be returning to work because I have been stealing money".

Dawber, of Wentworth View, Hoyland, admitted three offences of fraud between September 2008 and November 2009.

She stole 10,263 from 71-year-old Ellis Newsome's account and 9,582 from his brother Maurice, 73. Both had been in care since the age of five with mental health problems and neither could read or write. They have both since died.

The late Newsomes' younger brother Alan, 61, said: "We feel sorry for her in a way, but at least she has owned up to what she has done."