Londonderry care worker who stole almost £11,000 from pensioners jailed for nine months

DERRY Bishop's Street Court house
Image caption Danielle McDermott was appearing at Londonderry Magistrates Court

A 25-year-old care worker from Londonderry has been jailed for nine months for stealing thousands of pounds from vulnerable elderly women.

Danielle McDermott, who has an address in Belfast, admitted taking almost £11,000 from two pensioners between August 2013 and May 2014.

She used the money for shopping, hotels and a trip to the Isle of Man.

The judge described the offences as "very serious, mean and nasty".

McDermott had pleaded guilty to all three charges of stealing money, converting criminal property and fraud by false representation.

One of her victims is a 75-year-old woman who suffers from dementia.

Image caption Dinah Porter and her husband David spent their pension money on groceries

The court was told that in August 2013 she had £11,000 in her bank account but by April 2014 she had £474.

Another victim, 89-year-old Dinah Porter told BBC Radio Foyle that she was able to forgive McDermott but her daughter could not.

Secret recording

Her family set up a secret recording after becoming suspicious and caught McDermott stealing on camera.

McDermott denied stealing the money and said she had taken it to collect some precooked meals for Mrs Porter.

The court heard the money was used for a variety of purposes such as shopping, car insurance, heating oil, hotels and the paying off of at least one loan.

The defendant also used it to fly to the Isle of Man where her boyfriend was working.

The entire sum was spent on the defendant and her boyfriend, who knew nothing of its source.

'Persistent offending'

The judge said that McDermott had persisted in her actions even after being questioned by police about the missing money.

''It is clear that both injured parties were taken advantage of because they were vulnerable and the defendant was in a relationship of trust with them.

"The sort of offending that has to be deterred by the imposition of an immediate custodial sentence," said the judge.

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