'Despicable' Sheffield carer stole hundreds of pounds from vulnerable adults, court hears

A 'despicable' carer stole more than £1,300 from the vulnerable Sheffield adults she was paid to look after, a court heard.

Leanne Flint, of Norgreave Way, Half Way, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court today, after admitting to 14 counts of fraud by abuse of position of trust.

Flint committed the offences in late 2016 while she was employed by Lifeways to care for vulnerable adults with disabilities living in supported accommodation in a complex of nine bungalows in Handsworth, Sheffield.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheffield Crown Court was told how Flint's victims were aged between 50 and 75-year-old and suffered from a range of difficulties including physical disabilities and conditions such as Down's syndrome and autism. Some of the adults in the complex required 24-hour-a-day-care, the court heard.

Beverley Tait, prosecuting, told the court that Lifeways carers were given the responsibility of withdrawing money for the residents and leaving it in their property in an envelope for them, before filling out a sheet stating how much had been withdrawn.

She said: "It was noticed that there were receipts missing, there were amounts crossed out, as a result the area manager became involved.

"She noticed there were withdrawals for amounts that weren't included, or more was withdrawn than what was stated on the balance sheet."

Flint stole money from all nine residents in the supported living complex, to a total amount of £1338.38, the court heard.

Ms Tait told the court that Flint agreed to buy a sofa from a woman in the area costing £400 in November 2016.

She said the fraudulent withdrawals made by Flint coincided with the final payments she was asked to make for the sofa.

When arrested by police Flint, aged 28, said she withdrew the money for residents as she was asked to and left it in envelopes.

She later acknowledged her wrongdoing when she pleaded guilty to the numerous counts of fraud she was charged with.

Defending, Lucy Hogarth, told the court that Flint had got into financial difficulties when problems with damp at the property she was living at caused her to move more expensive accommodation, and subsequently led to her getting into rent arrears.

Ms Hogarth said: "She was hoping to repay the residents' money when she worked overtime, but things didn't work out like that."

She added that since the offences were committed Flint had married a man with mental health difficulties and is paid carer's living allowance to look after him.

"I am asking Your Honour to consider the impact it would have on her husband should she receive an immediate custodial sentence," said Ms Hogarth.

Judge Rachel Harrison sentenced Flint to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, ordered her to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and made her the subject of a three month curfew.