A social worker who stole over £90,000 from three of her elderly vulnerable clients has been jailed.
Karen Kersey-Smith, aged 47 and from Wrexham, had claimed in her defence that the money she had taken from her victims was given to charity. Instead, financial checks showed that she had lavished her stolen money on family holidays- including expensive trips for five people to Gran Canaria and Florida.
After telling her manager that stealing over £90,000 from two women aged 92 and 88, and a man in his 60s with dementia, was a “terrible mistake”, she pled guilty to three criminal charges of theft.
She appeared at Liverpool Crown Court earlier today and was jailed for a total of 28 months.
In prosecution, the court was sadly informed that two of the three victims had passed away since Karen Kersey-Smith had committed her crimes against them. They did not live long enough to see justice served.
One of the victims of her theft, the 92-year-old Mrs Mary Adamson, had been living in Ellesmere Port and was moved to a care home when Kersey-Smith was in her position as an adults social worker for Chester Council.
In a victim statement offered on her dead grandmother’s behalf, one of her grand-daughters said they that they found Mary to be increasingly distrusting and wary over time- taking her handbag with her everywhere she went.
Staff at the care home had also explained to the family that Mary was not eating, but had no idea it was her social worker stealing from her to blame for this loss of appetite.
Harrowingly, it was only after Mary passed away that a note in her handbag revealed that her social worker, Karen Kersey-Smith, had been stealing from her.
Mary’s grand-daughter explained to the court how they felt “so sad that she passed away before her social worker came to trial”.
Mary’s grand-daughter also shared how horrible it was to know that her grandmother spent the final days of her life in fear and mistrustful of those around her.
Kersey-Smith had stolen a total of £41,494.38 from Mary between November 2015 and September 2017.
A second victim of her heinous crimes was a male in his 60s called William Finter.
Mr Finter has dementia and Karen stole £21,191.86 from him between June 2016 and September 2017.
Sadly, Mr Finter has also passed away before seeing his social worker brought to justice.
Karen’s only surviving victim is an 88-year-old woman who has arthritis and macular degeneration. Giving a victim statement to the court, she said that Karen Kersey-Smith was “her eyes” and “entrusted her”.
Instead of honouring both this trust placed in her by her client and her professional duties, Karen Kersey-Smith stole £27,642.74 from the vulnerable victim.
The victim told the court how Karen Kersey-Smith’s actions had “highlighted how vulnerable I am” and went on to explain how she “can’t escape the fact that this could happen again.”
Karen Kersey-Smith stole a total of £90,328.95 from her three victims and none of this money was ever repaid.
In sentencing her, Judge Berkson told Karen Kersey-Smith: “I make it clear at the outset the appropriate punishment is by one of an immediate custodial sentence. You had a position of trusted care for many years with responsibility for the old and infirm. You took advantage of that position when, over a sustained period of time, you stole thousands and thousands of pounds”
“This has affected their lives and also their families. They have not got their money back. It caused great emotional distress to those victims”
Judge Berkson found Karen Kersey-Smith guilty of all three counts of theft and sentenced her to a total 28 months in prison.
There is a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing to follow.