A health worker who masqueraded as a qualified nurse escaped a jail sentence today - after a judge heard that health professionals praised the standard of her work.
Deniece Stewart was given a twenty month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after committing what was described in court as a gross breach of trust and a confidence fraud. From Maidstone Crown Court, Derek Johnson reports and speaks to Dr Caroline Jessel.
A bogus nurse who gave almost 2,000 patients cervical smears and vaccinations she was not qualified to carry out was today spared jail.
Former health care assistant Denice Stewart, 48, had admitted theft, fraud, deception and forgery after posing as a registered nurse for six years.
When she was arrested in July 2011, the surgeries she worked at in Essex and Kent were forced to offer patients retests and additional treatment.
Imposing a sentence of 20 months imprisonment suspended for two years at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Carey said Stewart's criminal activity had been of a "persistent and highly premeditated kind".
I have reached the conclusion that uppermost in your mind at all times was a desire to have a status which you had not earned and which you did not deserve.
"You were deceiving others, you were deceiving yourself and living in a bubble of deception and self-deception."