Middleton woman stole £18,000 from her estranged step-dad while he was in hospital

Smith pleaded guilty to fraud by false presentation. Credit: MEN Media

A woman stole more than £18,000 from her estranged step-dad while he was in hospital - using it to buy hundreds of Amazon parcels.

Stacey Smith, 27, broke into her former step-dads flat with her younger brother in Stoke-on-Trent in June 2021 and took his bank card.

Over a 10-week period, Smith made several fake accounts on Amazon and placed 241 orders using his card, totalling £18,373.54.

The orders included an iPhone, a flat screen TV and a fridge freezer, which were delivered to her address in Middleton, Rochdale.

Her step-dad, who she had not seen since she was 11, collapsed in his home in June 2021 and was later diagnosed with a form of dementia.

Manchester Crown Court heard the transactions began 12 days after the victim was admitted to hospital, and ceased two days before he was discharged in September 2021.

Smith was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday 12 October 2023. Credit: Steve Allen/PA

He returned home to find his Halifax bank card missing and one of his neighbours told him they had seen a ‘large female’ coming in and out of the house with his son.

Smith, of Gatesgarth Road, Middleton, pleaded guilty to fraud by false presentation, and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment which was suspended for 18 months.

She also received 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and 100 hours of unpaid work at her sentencing on Thursday 12 October 2023.

Smith previously told police the man had been abusive to her when she was a child, adding: “I took it out on him when he was at his weakest, I should not have done it.”

Sentencing, Judge Kate Cornell said Smith perceived she had been ‘done wrong’ by the man, and was ‘angry and resentful towards him’.

She added: “This does not give anyone the right or excuse to commit crimes such as these, especially as he was in hospital and vulnerable.

“There was a level of sophistication, you targeted him as you knew he was vulnerable.”

The man was refunded the money by Halifax, the court heard.

Defence Henry Blackshaw said Smith, who has no previous convictions, accepted full responsibility and was 'extremely remorseful'.

He said: “It seems her adult life has been a bit of a car crash, in terms of managing her financial affairs."Mr Blackshaw said the man’s son was her half brother, whom she was helping to look after whilst he was in hospitall, adding: “This was more opportunistic than targeted."

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