Oswaldtwistle cleaner who stole form 93-year-old woman in spared jail
8:00pm Friday 2nd November 2012 in News
A CLEANER who emptied a 93-year-old woman’s bank account of more than £4,100 has been spared immediate jail.
Jacqueline Leishman had also been a long-time friend of vuln-erable victim Irene Neild, as well as a trusted worker.
Her mother, who has come up with the cash to pay the pens-ioner back, helped save her from prison. Mother-of-two Leishm-an’s lawyer produced a £4,170.55 cheque, the full amount the def-endant stole from the victim’s current acc-ount, when she app-eared for sentence at Burnley Crown Court.
Leishman was said to have succumbed to temptation when she had debts at home, but didn’t have the courage to ask her family for help over her financial pressures. She stole the money over several months from Mrs Neild, a great grandmother-of-seven, after the pensioner gave her her bank card and PIN number to do her food shopping, and get her cash.
Leishman 50, of Rhyddings Street, Oswaldtwistle, now said to be a full-time carer for her disabled husband, had admitted theft. She was sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for two years, with 150 hours unpaid work.
Michael Wallbank, prosecut-ing, told the court Mrs Neild, who lived in sheltered accomm-odation, was deaf, had limited mobility, and was unable to leave her home without help.
The defendant had known Mrs Neild for some years and had cleaned for her regularly for 11 years. In, or around, last December, Mrs Neild got a letter from her bank, informing her her account was overdrawn.
In March, her daughter was aware she had received a further letter saying she was still overdrawn. They went through bank statements and found, between August 2011 and March 2012, there had been 30 unauthorised cash withdrawals. Darren Lee-Smith, for Leishman, said the cheque to pay back Mrs Neild had come from the defendant’s mother as a loan.
Sentencing, Judge Andrew Woolman said Leishman was of previous good character and came from a respectable family.
He told her: “It’s surprising to see you in the dock. I have read letters from other people for whom you have worked and they seem to trust you implicitly, despite the fact they obviously know you have pleaded guilty.”