A south east Clare woman abused the trust of a care home resident, who didn’t see a visitor for over two years, when stealing over €3,000 from him in 2020, a court has heard.
By Gordon Deegan
At a 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 last year from 83 year old care home resident, Terrance Stevenson.
In evidence, Det Garda John Jenks stated that Mr Stevenson knew that he was dying when he was making his statement to Gardai concerning the thefts and died on January 25th of this year.
Det Jenks stated that the 22 thefts from Mr Stevenson were carried out through a VISA debit card that he had given to Ms Hennessy to get his messages.
Det Jenks said that 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 a daughter’s school. The thefts ranged in value from €20 to €450 and other amounts concerned include €122, €157, €123, €50, €122, €350, €247 and €150.
The detective said that Mr Stevenson was a single man and moved to Killaloe in east Clare from the UK around 30 years ago. He said that Mr Stevenson has no family in Ireland but has a brother and niece in the UK.
Mr Stevenson moved into the nursing home in December 2018 after Det Jenks stated that the man wasn’t able to look after himself anymore and wanted to spend his last few years in comfort in a nursing home.
Det Jenks said that when Gardai went to the home of Ms Hennessy on February 19th this year, she immediately accepted responsibility for the thefts.
Det Jenks said that Ms Hennessy – employer as a care worker at the care home from April 2020 to November 2020 – said that she was under pressure for money.
He said that Ms Hennessy’s late partner took his own life in 2016 and his body was found by a then 17 year old daughter in a garden shed. Det Jenks said that this tragedy greatly impacted Ms Hennessy.
Solicitor for Ms Hennessy, Daragh Hassett said that it was a sad case all around.
Mr Hassett said that Mr Stevenson had trusted Ms Hennessy “and she abused that trust” and that his client is “utterly ashamed”.
Mr Hassett stated that “temptation raised its head” when Ms Hennessy was given Mr Stevenson’s bank card. He stated that Ms Hennessy was under “massive pressure” money wise. He said that she didn’t spend any of the money on fancy goods.
Mr Hassett said that it is a serious case and that Ms Hennessy wants to pay all the money back. He said that she has already started to save up to pay back the money. Mr Hassett said that Ms Hennessy has no previous convictions.
Det Jenks said that 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.