Carer stole more than £115,000 from elderly woman in Liverpool even after she had died

Paul McFadden, who worked as a carer, was jailed for four-and-a-half years. Credit: Merseyside Police

An elderly woman had more than £115,000 stolen by her "despicable" carer - who continued to take money from her bank account even after she died.

Elizabeth Cain was left with just £87 to her name, after her support worker, Paul McFadden, made hundreds of fraudulent transactions from her savings into his own account.

Between March 2020 and May 2021, a total of 554 transactions were recorded from Mrs Cain's account to McFadden's as well as three cheques totaling £15,300.

The full amount he had stolen was £115,304.41.

The wedding rings of the pensioner and her late husband also remain missing, Liverpool Crown Court was told.

McFadden, who admitted fraud, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail.

Judge Brian Cummings KC told him: "At the end of the day, what you did was prey on a very old lady who believed that you had her best interests at heart.

"Despite other blows she was suffering in her life, including the death of her own husband, you carried on defrauding her."

He added: "I do not believe you had any real consideration for her as a person, and I doubt you have any real remorse for it. What you did was despicable."

McFadden continued to take money from the pensioner, even after she had died.

McFadden from agency Be Caring was one of three carers appointed to look after Elizabeth and her husband Terence in 2019 - after she suffered a fall and a deterioration in her health.

But, just a year later his employment was terminated for gross misconduct after he falsified logins.

The 39-year-old continued to visit the couple however, and when Mr Cain died on 7 November 2020, he saw the widow "two or three times a week" and regularly did her food shopping.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Mrs Cain felt "distressed" shortly after her husbands death due to an outstanding £170 newsagents bill.

Neil Bisarya, prosecuting, said she had given the defendant money to pay this, but two weeks later the shop threatened to stop its deliveries as the sum had still not been received.

Mrs Cain's sister confronted McFadden, who said he had "forgotten to pay it", and he subsequently settled the tab.

The pensioner moved into sheltered housing in January 2021, but, shortly after moving in, Mrs Cain became "extremely deaf", leaving her with limited contact with her relatives.

McFadden, who continued to visit Mrs Cain, now in her 80s, then took the key to her apartment as she could not use the intercom.

When her sister and brother-in-law visited on 5 May 2021, he had to meet them at the address to let them in.

Three days later, she suffered a severe fall and was admitted to Aintree Hospital.

McFadden told her relatives he would go to the flat to pick up her handbag and other items, but they were never delivered.

Mrs Cain passed away on the evening of 22 May 2021. Two days later, her family went to her flat to look for her life insurance certificate but could not find it or any other important paperwork or valuables.

McFadden said he "might know" where these missing items were and returned the handbag on 26 May.

The conman promised to give the other items back but appeared "reluctant" to do so.

McFadden had told them he was staying in a Travelodge in the Lake District after being informed of Mrs Cain's death.

Her relatives then discovered a £120,99 withdrawal had been made from her account two days after her death from a cash machine in Bowness, Cumbria.

On the day of her funeral on 8 June, he texted the family to say he had dropped off the purse and card with the manager of her accommodation.

The fraudster claimed he had "stayed at the back" during the service as he had forgotten his face mask, but only 12 people were present and he was not seen at the church.

Mrs Cain's sister collected the purse and card the following day.

She had been expecting the couple's gold wedding rings to be inside the wallet, but they were not and have still not been recovered.

When the family visited Mrs Cain's bank "the full extent of the fraud become apparent" - with "numerous" transfers made from her account to McFadden's.

It is believed that Mrs Cain was "completely unaware" of these transactions.

McFadden, who was defended by Frank Dillon, was described as a "long-term drug user" who had committed the offences in order to feed his habit.

He has 11 previous convictions for 27 offences between 2007 and 2020, including for handling stolen goods and drug offences.

Detective Inspector Richie Shillito, from Merseyside Police said: "The scale and regularity of this fraud was astounding, made even more so by the fact that McFadden had previously provided care to the victim - an elderly and vulnerable lady."

He added: "To essentially empty all of her life savings is callous in the extreme. The brazenness of McFadden to continue visiting his victim and lead her to believe he was a friend makes his offending all the more serious, and perhaps he will reflect on the distress and harm he has caused to the victim's family on top of them losing a beloved family member.

"If you suspect that you or someone you know is the victim of fraud, Action Fraud and police forces will take action to prevent the untold harm that it can cause."

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