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By Debbie le Quesne

When trust is broken we all feel the pain

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Trust is essential to any element of caring. And when that trust is broken the damage done is immeasurable. It not only affects victims but also bruises the already-battered image of the care industry.

The joys of the internet give ready access to the news no matter where we are.

So playing golf in Portugal, my phone is storing up the latest misery for when I catch up with a coffee. I wanted to know what has happening with the floods in the south, but the BBC were carrying the story of a deputy manager in a care home who defrauded residents out of almost £15,000,

Thank goodness he’s been jailed for two years.

Denise Nichols, aged 55, of Kiveton Lane, Rotherham, took the money from the bank accounts of 23 residents at Wensley Street Care Home, in Sheffield.

He then tried to cover his fraud by creating false records, but was found out after an audit,  Sheffield Crown Court was told.

This is what Judge Peter Kelson QC said: “The real mischief of what you [ Nichols] have done is your gross breach of trust.

“The system relies upon honesty on the part of people in your position and, for five years and eight months, you were dishonest.”

Nichols pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court in January.

Oddly, the defence counsel said Nichols t had “no real explanation” for the fraud, but had been going through an “extremely difficult time”.

You bet he didn’t have a real defence! These cases make me so very angry because we all pick up the tab of the wrongdoing.

One of the most special groups of people are those with learning disabilities and Wensley Street Care Home looks after to up to 30 of them.

I am relieved that Nichols has got a proper sentence and his liberty taken from him. As Det Con Jenny Elsley, of South Yorkshire Police, said, according to the Beeb, the fraud was “a calculated and sustained crime”.

While my ager burns over the perpetrator of this crime, my heart goes out to the residents and the staff, who are left to pick up the pieces. I would love to go through just a couple of months without news like this breaking. What it is with people who wish to take advantage of those who are challenged?

Sadly we will never be without them and although we all dislike these kind of stories, be must readily expose all wrongdoing.

I can only hope Nichols has a reflective and educational time in jail.

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