'Despicable' carers stole 91-year-old's jewellery before using her debit card to buy wine

Angela Lawrence and Kirsty Wallace were both jailed. (SWNS)
Angela Lawrence and Kirsty Wallace were both jailed for stealing from vulnerable victims. (SWNS)

Two "despicable" carers who broke into a 91-year-old's home and stole her jewellery and bank card have been jailed.

Kirsty Wallis, 35, and Angela Lawrence, 48, entered Gladys Spratt’s property in Ashford, Kent, at 2am in October 2019.

The elderly widow was woken up and became confused by Wallis’ and Lawrence’s presence, as she only usually had day visits from the care company.

In response, mother-of-three Wallis, who was wearing her carer's uniform, claimed police had asked her to visit after a disturbance in the area.

The next morning, Spratt discovered her bank cards, bus pass and jewellery had disappeared.

After taking the jewellery given to Spratt by her late husband, Wallace and Lawrence then used her bank card to buy fuel, chocolate and wine.

Police later discovered that Wallis received £150 for scrap gold and silver from a jeweller the day after the break-in.

None of the jewellery has been recovered by police.

A view of the Kent Police flag at police headquarters in Maidstone, Kent. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday January 13, 2020. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Kent Police's PC Adam Pope called the crime "a gross breach of trust" (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

The pair committed their crime after Wallis targeted another client with dementia, stealing his father’s First World War medals and then selling them as scrap metal.

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The medals were originally awarded to S A Benson for his heroics during the First World War and later passed down to son Eric as heirlooms.

After Eric developed dementia, Wallis became his carer and then stole the medals from his home.

During their investigation, officers discovered an antique dealer’s receipt in Wallis’ car for medals, coins and cutlery sold for £45.

Eric has since died and did not see thief brought to justice.

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Both defendants were jailed for a combined sentence of more than four years for burglary and theft at Canterbury Crown Court.

Sitting side-by-side in the dock, Wallis and Lawrence diverted their eyes towards the floor throughout the hearing.

Judge Catherine Brown ordered the thieves to look her in the eye as she delivered her remarks.

She told the defendants: “Many elderly people really resent the point when they need strangers to come into their homes, and offences like this are just the sort of offences that increase the concern.

“These were despicable and heartless crimes committed against two elderly and vulnerable people.”

Handing down a sentence, the judge dismissed Wallis' claims that she was remorseful as “self-pity”.

Ian Bond, mitigating for Wallis, argued she was remorseful, entered an early guilty plea and described her own behaviour as “disgusting”.

The court heard Wallis resigned from the care company in October 2019.

Kerry Waitt, mitigating for Lawrence, said the defendant felt a “great sense of shame” and regarded herself an otherwise “honest and law-abiding citizen”.

PC Adam Pope, Kent Police's investigating officer, said after the hearing: "The theft of these items from victims who were vulnerable due to their age was a gross breach of trust by these women, one of whom had been paid to care for the elderly.

"I would like to praise the alertness of the victim who was woken in the middle of the night, and whose assistance has helped bring these offenders to justice."