Carer told to repay most of stolen £100,000
A carer who plundered an 83-year-old bedridden widow's inheritance of at least £100,000 to fund a luxury lifestyle has been ordered to repay £74,000.
Debra Charmaine Adams, 47, fleeced her victim over a two-year period spending the money on her passion for horses and holidays for her children, including a five-month round-the-world trip.
In February this year at Truro Crown Court, Adams, of Fraddon Hill, St Columb, near Newquay, was jailed for five years after earlier pleading guilty to 14 counts of forgery and theft, one of criminal damage and one of making threats. She asked for 135 other matters to be taken into consideration.
On Friday Adams reappeared at the court via video-link for a confiscation hearing in front of Recorder Paul Grumbar who told her to pay up within six months or serve 18 months in jail consecutively to her sentence.
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Iain White, prosecuting, told the court Adams had been the full-time carer for the widow, whose husband had not told her he had squirrelled away £180,000 until three weeks before he died.
He said between May, 2008 and July, 2010 Adams had access to the widow's bank account from which she stole at least £100,042. After splashing the money on herself and her family, only two cars worth £3,000 remained.
Jonathan Barnes, defending, agreed that £70,700 represented "tainted" gifts to her children and were therefore part of her realisable assets.
At the February hearing the court heard when the victim, who lived near Padstow, realised what the carer was up to and confronted her, Adams threw a brick through her window and sent her letters threatening to set her home alight.
Judge Paul Darlow told Adams: "Her vulnerability was obvious to you because you were her carer.
"In my judgment you occupied a very high degree of trust. The money was used by you and your husband for holidays and to indulge your passion for horses – you spent some money on your children and grandchildren. This is one of the most serious breaches of trust I have ever had the misfortune to come across."
Referring the letters he said: "These two letters were as malicious as they were threatening in content because she knew if you carried your threats out and set fire to her house she would burn alive."
The court heard Adams endured a troubled childhood and suffered from mental health problems.