Carer jailed for stealing from elderly dementia sufferers
- Credit: CAMBS POLICE
A Fenstanton carer who stole jewellery from two elderly women suffering from dementia has been brought to justice thanks to the help of their determined families.
The family of Bridie Smith’s first victim noticed jewellery disappearing from her home in Colne in July.
They searched the home of the woman, now in her 90s, but could find no trace of the items.
They began to suspect Smith of having stolen the jewellery after noticing she wasn’t carrying out tasks asked of her and spending unnecessary time in the woman’s bedroom.
Smith, 29, also acted as a carer for another elderly woman in Warboys but on August 23, the woman’s family noticed three rings had gone missing.
The family, knowing no-one else had visited the woman’s home apart from Smith as her carer, called police to report the theft.
They decided to scour local pawn shops and antique dealers where they found three identical rings to those stolen at an auction house in St Ives, which they were later reunited with.
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The family of Smith’s first victim decided to do the same and discovered a sapphire and diamond ring online on an auction site they believed to be theirs.
They bought the ring back for £558 after the auctioneer said there was a lack of proof they owned it.
This was the only one out of the first victim's 12 items of jewellery to have ever been recovered.
The family then searched through old photo albums to find images of the stolen jewellery which matched those missing and those being sold by the auction house.
Alongside this, they found previous insurance valuations of the jewellery, with just five of the stolen items worth more than £10,000.
Smith, of Crest Drive, Fenstanton, was interviewed in September and initially denied the allegations, as well as ever seeing any of the stolen jewellery.
However, she later admitted stealing the jewellery from the two women in their 90s and selling them to auction houses.
Smith claimed she had been ill and had turned to theft to pay her rent as she didn’t receive sick pay, admitting that she felt sad for what she had done.
She was later charged with two counts of theft and pleaded guilty to both charges at a previous hearing.
Smith was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on March 11 where she was handed nine months in prison.
PC Will Porter, who investigated, said: “What Smith did was truly heartbreaking for her victims, one of which thought it was her mistake that the jewellery was lost due to her dementia.
"She spent hours looking for each item and often lay awake at night worrying."