Harrogate carer stole over £3,000 from blind women he cared for

A carer who stole thousands of pounds from two blind women to feed his ketamine addiction has been told to expect a jail sentence.

Monday, 11th June 2018, 5:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 11:33 am
York Crown Court.

Greg Watson, 28, was entrusted to deal with the women’s finances as part of his work with the Foresight care group in Harrogate, which provides residential care for people with learning disabilities and visual impairments.

York Crown Court heard that although Watson was allowed to withdraw money on the victims’ behalf, he had pocketed thousands by corrupting their financial records.

Prosecutor Jessica Randell said both victims - 52-year-old Sharon Garrard and Joanne Corbett, 40 - were blind and had learning difficulties.

Miss Corbett was also wheelchair-bound and Ms Garrard was hard of hearing.

She said Watson’s crimes came to light in December last year when a senior care worker checked Ms Garrard’s bank statements and noticed “unusually large amounts” had been withdrawn from her account.

The paying-in books which staff used to record the amounts of money withdrawn from residents’ accounts were also checked.

They showed that Watson had been taking money from Ms Garrard’s account and not entering the correct amount of money that had been withdrawn.

Ms Randell said staff were permitted to withdraw money from residents’ accounts for legitimate purposes because of their disabilities.

But Watson, of Harewood Road, Harrogate, had not declared the full amounts he withdrew on repeated occasions.

He stole £2,690 from Ms Garrard’s account in September last year.

Staff then checked other residents’ accounts and found that unauthorised cash withdrawals amounting to £1,050 had been made from Miss Corbett’s account over a 10-day period in July.

Watson was arrested and told officers he had been battling a ketamine addiction for 13 years.

“He said he took the money to fund his habit,” said Ms Randell.

“He didn’t know how much money he had taken, but accepted he used residents’ bank cards while he wasn’t at work.

“He said he was aware that the two residents were blind and had learning difficulties, and that he felt so bad he had been intending to hand himself in.”

Watson, who worked for the care group between June 2016 and November 2017, appeared for sentence on May 31, after admitting two counts of theft.

He was unrepresented in court and told Judge Paul Worsley QC that he was content to speak for himself in mitigation.

Mr Worsley QC offered to adjourn sentence, so that Watson, who has no previous convictions, could seek legal representation.

Watson ultimately accepted the offer and the judge adjourned the case, but warned Watson that he was in “grave danger” of going to prison.

Mr Worsley adjourned sentence to June 29 and granted Watson bail, but warned him: “You should consider your financial position because I have in mind to make a compensation order so that these ladies can get back the money that was plundered from their accounts.”