Nurse loses husband and job after stealing over £3,000 from dementia patient at Royal Stoke Hospital

Dorothy Howell used the stolen bank card to withdraw cash 12 times Credit: BPM Media

A nurse who stole an elderly woman's bank card while working at a hospital in Staffordshire has been sentenced today.

Appearing at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, 57-year-old Dorothy Howell was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.

The nursing care assistant at the Royal Stoke Hospital was dismissed from her role after being caught and her marriage of 36 years also collapsed.

Howell, who is a mum-of-two and grandmother-of-four, stole an 84-year-old's bank card as they lay in their hospital bed.

She withdrew £250 from the elderly woman's bank account in 12 transactions - totalling more than £3,000.

Howell was caught on CCTV making the transactions at a cash machine in Birches Head in Stoke-on-Trent.

Dorothy Howell has lost her career and marriage after stealing a patients bank card Credit: BPM Media

Each transaction cost £1.99 meaning the total value of the fraud was £3,023.88.

The victim was a vulnerable woman who had been admitted to the hospital after a fall and was treated in ward 225.

The 84-year-old noticed a series of withdrawals while she was being treated in the hospital.

Police and her bank were contacted about the fraud and an investigation was carried out.

Prosecutor Ryan Hodgins said the transaction occurred between November 10, 2020, and December 8, 2020.

In court, he said: "The defendant used the Halifax bank card of an elderly patient to withdraw sums of money.

"The defendant was working as a healthcare professional at the Royal Stoke where the victim was admitted. She had taken the card and pin number from the pensioner's room."

Dorothy Howell was a nurse at the Royal Stoke Hospital when she swiped the card Credit: BPM Media

Rob Holt, mitigating, said: Howell "has no previous convictions and has lost her good character.

"A conviction of this type is going to make further employment prospects difficult. Her marriage ended after 36 years. Her husband wants nothing to do with her.

"She took advantage of someone vulnerable she was charged with caring for. She does not really know what happened to the money. There were no luxury items. She simply spent the money on general day-to-day expenses to top up her income."

He added: "She is genuinely remorseful."