A southeast Clare woman abused the trust of a care home resident, who did not see a visitor for over two years, when stealing over €3,000 from him last year, a court has heard.

At Killaloe District Court sitting in Ennis on Tuesday, Lorraine Hennessy (40) of Glor na Srutha, Clonlara pleaded guilty to 22 theft charges concerning €3,011 between August 20th and October 5th, 2020 from 83-year-old care home resident, Terrance Stevenson.

In evidence, Det Garda John Jenks stated Mr Stevenson knew that he was dying when he was making his statement to Gardaí concerning the thefts and died on January 25th, 2021.

Det Jenks said the 22 thefts from Mr Stevenson were carried out through a VISA debit card which he had given to Ms Hennessy to get his messages.

Det Jenks said the money was spent by Ms Hennessy on insurance payments, online motor tax, utility bills and payments to a high interest loan company along with a contribution to her daughter’s school. The thefts ranged in value from €20 to €450.

The detective said Mr Stevenson was a single man who moved to Killaloe in east Clare from the UK around 30 years ago.

He said Mr Stevenson has no family in Ireland but has a brother and niece in the UK.

Comfort

Mr Stevenson moved into the nursing home in December 2018 after he became unable able to look after himself and wanted to spend his last few years in comfort in a nursing home, according to Det Jenks.

Det Jenks said when gardaí went to the home of Ms Hennessy on February 19th, 2021, she immediately accepted responsibility for the thefts.

Det Jenks said Ms Hennessy, who was employed as a care worker at the care home from April-November 2020, said she was under pressure for money.

Det Jenks added that Ms Hennessy’s late partner took his own life in 2016 and his body was found by their then 17-year-old daughter in a garden shed which greatly impacted Ms Hennessy, he said.

Solicitor for Ms Hennessy, Daragh Hassett said it was a sad case all around, adding that Mr Stevenson had trusted Ms Hennessy “and she abused that trust”.

He said his client is “utterly ashamed” and that “temptation raised its head” when Ms Hennessy was given Mr Stevenson’s bank card.

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Mr Hassett stated Ms Hennessy was under “massive pressure” money wise, but she did not spend any of the money on fancy goods.

He said it is a serious case and that Ms Hennessy wants to pay all the money back and has already started saving up to pay back the sum, highlighting that she has no previous convictions.

Det Jenks said Mr Stevenson’s nursing home bill remains unpaid due to the thefts.

Judge Mary Larkin adjourned the case to April to allow Ms Hennessy to repay the stolen money.