A CARE worker at a Blackburn retirement village stole an 85-year-old resident’s handbag after she had been taken to hospital following a fall.

Blackburn magistrates heard Patricia Mary Dawson stole £1,553 in four days using bank cards removed from the bag.

And she later told police she had used the cash to help her daughter who was struggling financially and facing repossession of her home.

Dawson, 53, of Tintern Crescent, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to stealing a handbag and cash from Eileen Nicholson.

She was remanded on bail for the preparation of a pre-sentence report with a warning that all options would be open to the sentencing bench.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said Mrs Nicholson was admitted to hospital with a broken ankle. Her daughter went to her apartment and noticed it was a little untidy. She also saw her mum’s handbag but left it where it was.

“When she returned to the room it had been tidied and the handbag was missing,” said Mr Robinson. “In the meantime cash was being withdrawn at the maximum daily rate. Purchases were also made from Argos and a service station.”

Mr Robinson said CCTV footage from the cash machines that were used was shown to the manager of the retirement village who immediately recognised Dawson.


Jonathan Taylor, defending, said his client was extremely remorseful.

“Her actions were motivated by the fact her daughter was fearful she was going to have her home repossessed,” said Mr Taylor. “She gave money to her daughter to prevent that happening.”

Mr Taylor said Dawson had paid back all the money and written a letter to say how sorry she was.

“It is unusual for anyone to pay the money back so quickly,” said Mr Taylor. “She knows Eileen Nicholson will never forgive her.”