Cleaner who stole from dementia patient to buy her kids a horse is spared jail

Shelley Taylor
Shelley Taylor

A cleaner stole thousands of pounds from an 87-year-old dementia sufferer, to buy a horse for her children, a court heard.

Shelley Taylor took £4,000 from widow and grandmother Jeanne Garratt over a seven month period.

The 45-year-old had been employed to clean the elderly woman’s home, but said she needed extra cash to buy a horse for her two children.

Mrs Garratt’s sons, Peter and Leslie Garratt, became so suspicious of the cleaner that they installed a CCTV system in their mother’s house.

But Taylor stole the two cameras as well to cover her tracks.

She was spared jail and given a six-month custodial sentence suspended for 12 months instead.

Peter Garratt, 59, said: “She should be locked up. I feel she has definitely escaped justice.

“She preyed on my mother, giving her a kiss and a cuddle and making her a cup of tea while she was stealing her money.

“We’re absolutely devastated and livid.”

Rod Chapman, prosecuting, told Chesterfield magistrates that Mrs Garratt’s family grew concerned because she was keeping inheritance cash in the house.

Her family, from Sheffield, checked the cash and feared some had gone missing from a handbag in a wardrobe in their mother’s bedroom so cameras were installed.

But when Mrs Garratt’s sons returned the cameras had also been stolen so Leslie, 68, alerted the police.

Mr Chapman said money had also gone missing from a suitcase.

Taylor, of Ashley Lane, Killamarsh, Sheffield, told police she had needed £2,000 to help buy a horse and claimed she had intended to pay the money back.

She confessed to stealing the cameras because she feared being caught.

She admitted stealing £2,000 in December 2015, £2,000 in May 2016 and the cameras in June 2016.

Robert Sowter, defending, said Taylor had repaid £2,000 and said her father would pay the outstanding £2,000 and £190 compensation for the cameras.

Peter Garratt said the inheritance cash had been hard-earned by his grandfather who worked as a miner.

He said his mother, a former farmer’s wife, had been left asking why Taylor stole money when she had been so nice to her.

District Judge Andrew Davison sentenced Taylor to six months of custody suspended for 12 months with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 150 hours’ unpaid work.

He also ordered her to pay £3,190 compensation for the loss of the money, cameras and for the impact.

Taylor must also pay a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs.