A JAIL sentence hangs over a Chesterfield carer who stole cash from an 84-year-old dementia sufferer.
Town magistrates heard that Donald Onions was the victim of a distraction burglary on October 7, so his daughter had a CCTV system set up in his house.
It led to Joseph Hawkins, a home help for Mr Onions, twice being caught on camera as he stole cash from a dining room side table.
“One day she watched the CCTV from her own computer and saw that her father looked ill. She then checked the CCTV and saw the defendant take coins from a tray on December 21 and 22.
“How much was taken we don’t know but it just seems to be change,” said Peter Bettney, prosecuting.
Hawkins (21) denied stealing any money when interviewed by police but accepted he had taken cash after being shown CCTV footage.
“He said he was sickened by what he had seen and he couldn’t remember taking the money, and he hadn’t done this on any previous occasions,” added Mr Bettney.
Hawkins, of Fairfield Road, Newbold, admitted theft. He had no previous convictions.
Deputy District Judge David Stott said Hawkins had committed a major breach of trust against the Alzheimer’s sufferer and jailed him for six weeks - but he suspended the prison sentence for a year.
He also imposed 60 hours unpaid work and a one-year probation supervision order, with £85 costs and £20 compensation.
“He is extremely contrite,” said Jon Barber, for Hawkins.
He told the court that Hawkins and Mr Onions used to take turns to pay for fish and chip meals. Hawkins would take £5 cash when it was Mr Onions’ turn to pay, fetch the food and they would eat together.
“There was a bit of a free and easy situation regarding the change on the side table,” said Mr Barber.
“The offence has cost him his career.”