A CARER who “completely betrayed” the trust of a vulnerable pensioner when she attempted to steal money from her bank account has been jailed.

Marina Payton stole a cheque from the frail 81-year-old and attempted to cash it in for almost £2,000.

But Payton was rumbled when her bank’s security system flagged up that she had written the cheque out to her and her partner – despite her name being the only one registered to the account.

Payton tried to deny the attempted fraud, but police used CCTV to pin her to the crime.

Yesterday, the 48-year-old was jailed for a year at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

The court was told how Payton was providing domiciliary care for her victim, Joyce Summers – who suffered from a number of conditions, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The court heard the pensioner, who has since died, was “extremely vulnerable”.

Because of her conditions, she was confined to either her bedroom or living room, and required the help of her carers.

Prosecutor Rachel Standish said: “The victim was vulnerable and the defendant was in a position of trust, as her carer.

“She provided the care at the victim’s home and had access to all of the rooms.”

Ms Standish said between June and July last year, Payton stole two cheques belonging to her victim.

Then, on July 27, she attempted to cash in one of the cheques, for £1,840, at her bank.

Ms Standish said: “She was seen on CCTV trying to pay the cheque into the bank.

“Because she had written two names on it and her account only had one, the bank rejected it.”

Mrs Summers’ bank later contacted her son, who had control of the account, to alert him of the attempt and the police were informed.

Ms Standish said Mrs Summers had been left “completely betrayed” by Payton’s actions.

Reading from a victim personal statement, she said: “I have to trust carers to remain at home and this has completely shattered that trust.

“I can’t believe someone who is supposed to be in my house to care for me would steal money from me.

“I should feel safe in my own home and I do not anymore.”

Ms Standish said Payton originally denied the attempted fraud, telling police she was in Bournemouth at the time.

But police used CCTV footage to confirm Payton had attempted to bank the cheque.

She pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of fraud by abuse of position on the day of her trial.

Mitigating, Jane Hyatt said Payton now accepted her guilt.

She said Payton, of Sycamore Road, Southampton, was “heavily in debt” at the time, owed £2,000 in unpaid council tax.

In sentencing Payton to a year in prison, lead magistrate Jan Fiorentino said: “The reason is you were in a position of trust which you breached and the victim was vulnerable.”