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Gambling addict Sara Beale stole £10,000 from her frail dad
IT was money that was supposed to go towards the care of her dad as he battled Alzheimer’s.
But rather than paying for a place in a nursing home, Sara Beale stole more than £10,000 from her 70-year-old father Brian – after her gambling got out of control.
The 45-year-old made regularly withdrawals from his account over a ten-month period, later admitting she had spent the cash on catalogues and online betting.
Now she has been ordered to carry out community service after pleading guilty to theft.
Southampton Crown Court heard how her father initially received respite care at the home for his health problems which included Alzheimer’s disease.
But as his behaviour became difficult to manage, it was arranged that he would move in to a home full-time.
Beale, of Butts Road, Sholing, attended a meeting with social services and the home when it was agreed she would make financial contributions towards his care from his account of £158 a week.
However, no contributions were made and she later wrote a letter to social service saying she no longer had responsibility over her father’s finances and he would have to be invoiced.
The home and social services, however, deemed he was unfit to look after his accounts and it was agreed they would take control of his finances.
Prosecutor Rachel Robertson said when they obtained bank records, it quickly became apparent that although he was receiving income from the Department of Works and Pensions and a private pension, Beale was regularly making withdrawals from them, which amounted to £10,167 over a ten-month period from August of last year.
When arrested, she initially denied she had taken the money but later admitted she had taken the cash, saying she had spent it on gambling and had been trying to pay off her debts.
Beale admitted theft and received a 12-month suspended sentence and a 200-hour community work order.
Passing sentence, Judge Derwin Hope told her: “Gambling is an evil addiction, you got caught up in it and committed this high breach of trust.”
But he accepted she had found it difficult to cope with the death of her mother and a friend, and she had sole custody of her young son. He had also read letters which showed a different picture of her.
In mitigation, Ryan Seneviratne said Beale had cared for her father for a significant period of time before it was accepted he needed round-the-clock care.
She had shown remorse, it was clear she had learnt her lesson and had taken steps to try and sort out her finances.
Her risk of reoffending had also been assessed as low, he added.