THE daughter of an elderly man who was robbed of thousands is shocked by the breach of trust and feels the culprit should have gone to jail.
On Friday, Angela Barefoot, 60, of Saltash Road, was spared jail after pleading guilty to taking £19,000 from Robert Hackett, who was a resident at the sheltered accommodation where she was a warden.
She was given the card and pin number of Mr Hackett to buy him things he needed, but instead spent thousands at Gala Bingo to fuel her gambling addiction.
Mr Hackett, who was in his 80s and suffered from dementia, moved into George Selman Gardens in 2001, and between 2008 and 2011 around 400 cash withdrawals were made from cash machines.
At Swindon Crown Court last Friday, Judge Douglas Field imposed a 20-month jail sentence suspended for two years, and also ordered Barefoot to carry out 200 hours of community service after hearing she had led a good life before this incident.
She was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation, a fraction of the amount which was taken, but Mr Hackett’s daughter Julie said it was the abuse of position which the family have found most shocking.
“More than anything it is the massive breach of trust which I have found hardest to take,” she said.
“She was supposed to care for my father, who was very frail, but instead she stole money from an elderly man who could not defend himself. It was only after he died that I discovered what had happened.
“My dad gave her the card in good faith but she abused the trust he placed in her.”
Julie discovered the deceit when she was going through her father’s accounts after he died.
She has also criticised the legal system for not sending Barefoot to prison.
“When I was going through his accounts I noticed there were a lot of unusual withdrawals,” said Julie “I am pleased that we now know she took the money but I feel she should have spent some time in jail. It seems that justice is on the side of the defendant rather than the victim. The whole trial took almost two and a half years and it was only later on that she entered a guilty plea.
“I could see that £100 was taken out and then just 20 minutes later another £100 was taken out. There was one period when £2,000 was taken out while my dad was in hospital.”