'A repulsive betrayal of trust' - Carer befriended 96-year-old woman before stealing more than £20k from her bank account

Joan Garbutt, 59, posed as a carer and friend to the elderly woman, convincing her to give her access to her bank account so she could manage her finances.
Joan Garbutt, 59, posed as a carer and friend to the elderly woman, convincing her to give her access to her bank account so she could manage her finances.
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A callous carer befriended a 96-year-old woman to steal more than £20,000 from her in a "repulsive betrayal of trust".

Joan Garbutt, 59, posed as a carer and friend to the elderly woman, convincing her to give her access to her bank account so she could manage her finances.

Over a period of three years, Garbutt, from Bedale, withdrew a total of £22,805.

She was also claiming benefits at the time and acted as the victim’s friend but was paid to carry out care duties.

Her evil crimes came to light following the woman's death in 2017 and detectives from North Yorkshire Police charged her with theft.

Garbutt pleaded not guilty to the offence, but a jury saw through her lives and she was convicted by a jury earlier this month.

She was given an 18 month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Garbutt was also givena six month curfew and has been fitted with an electronic tag preventing her from leaving her home between 7pm and 7am.

PC Caroline Pugh, who led the investigation for North Yorkshire Police, said: “This was a sickening act in which Garbutt gained the trust of a vulnerable 96-year-old woman by pretending to be her friend and carer.

“She then abused her position to systematically steal a large sums of money from the woman’s savings. She showed no remorse and has never admitted her guilt.

“It was a repulsive betrayal of trust and it’s difficult to understand how anyone can do something so heartless and calculated to someone so elderly and vulnerable.

“As a result, the victim’s family have not only had to grieve the death of a loved one, but have also endured additional upset knowing that Garbutt has preyed on the woman’s vulnerability for her own selfish gain.

“I hope the fact she has been brought to justice provides some comfort to them.”

North Yorkshire Police has also applied for a Proceeds of Crime Act order to try to recover the money Garbutt stole but it is not clear how much can be recovered.