Carer fined after being caught on camera stealing money from elderly client

Hellen Johnson Credit: Borders Press Agency

A carer from Kelso caught on camera stealing money from the handbag of the elderly woman she was looking after has been fined £350 at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

Relatives of the woman suspected cash was going missing during visits to her sheltered housing home in Melrose. They set up the cameras and caught on film 40-year-old Hellen Johnson going into the woman's bag and removing £35.

Police were called and as officers viewed the CCTV evidence in another room, the cash turned up underneath a table where the bag had been sitting.

The officers insisted the money was not on the floor when they first arrived at the property.

At a trial, fiscal Tessa Bradley told Johnson: "You tried to get away with it by dropping it on the floor when the police had their backs turned."

When she was first questioned by police Johnson said she had never gone into the handbag and had no reason to. But when confronted with the CCTV evidence she said she had gone into the handbag to find a key to lock her client's door.

Johnson - of Fairnington Cottages, Kelso, - who also works as a psychiatric nurse with the NHS in Glasgow - said she suffered from mental health problems and was adamant she had not taken the £35 despite the CCTV evidence.

But Sheriff Derrick McIntyre found her guilty of stealing the money from the property in Priorwood Court, Melrose, on January 19.

Defence lawyer Mat Patrick said background reports stated that Johnson was not suitable to carry out unpaid work in the community due to her health issues.

He pointed out that due to anxiety she had suffered a fit which resulted in an ambulance being called to the court earlier that day.

But after being checked over by paramedics they ruled she was well enough to appear in court. Single mother Johnson was fined £350 to be paid at £20 per week.