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Carer jailed for stealing thousands from vulnerable woman

Credit: Cumbria Police

A carer who stole thousands of pounds from a vulnerable pensioner who she was employed to look after has been jailed for a year.

Laura Elizabeth Brunskill, 23, stole a total of £3,440 from the 71-year-old vascular dementia and Alzheimer's sufferer, often withdrawing hundreds of pounds at a time from ATMs without her permission.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how concerns over irregularities in the "frugal" and "thrifty" woman's financial affairs led police to Brunskill, who initially falsely suggested when quizzed that her victim had a cannabis habit.

It emerged Brunskill had splashed the pensioner's cash on a host of luxuries, including tickets for Peter Kay and Ed Sheeran concerts, treating her boyfriend as well as a Cape Verde holiday.

The court heard the woman's daughter was "horrified" to learn of thefts committed between June and December, 2017. "My blood ran cold and I can barely put into words how I feel about someone coming in to care for my mum, and systematically and callously abusing her," she wrote in an impact statement, adding her belief that her mother had been used by the carer - since sacked - "as a cashpoint".

Brunskill, of Lady Anne Drive, Brough, admitted four theft charges. Her lawyer, Brian Williams, said she was remorseful for offences which were "completely and utterly baffling" and "out of character".

But, jailing Brunskill, Judge Andrew Jefferies QC spoke of a "remarkable breach of trust". He told her: "Only immediate custody is appropriate in this case to punish you for what is a terribly mean offence.