Single mum from Chester who stole from Deeside pensioner fails in appeal against jail sentence

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Staff Reporter

An appeal against sentence by a single mum jailed for stealing nearly £3,000 from a vulnerable 82-year-old woman she was caring for has failed at the crown court.

Sarah Louise Ley, 32, must continue her 26-week prison sentence – and in addition pay a £115 victim surcharge which a deputy district judge had not imposed at Mold magistrates’ court when she was sentenced on December 12.

She had also been ordered to pay £1,000 compensation.

Turning down her appeal at Caernarfon Crown Court, Judge Huw Rees, who sat with two JPs, heard that Ley, of Clover Place, Lache, Chester, was pregnant at the time and had been trusted by the victim, of Connah’s Quay, with her debit card so that she could withdraw cash for her.

Barrister Ryan Rothwell told the judge that the victim, who lived alone, used a wheelchair following a brain  haemorrhage earlier in life and was entirely dependent upon others.  Ley used the card, whose PIN she’d been given, for 25 transactions totalling £2,803.

She’d said she took the money to obtain items for her unborn child and to repair her car.  Ley had no previous convictions but in 2015 had received a police caution for stealing £5 from the purse of an 87-year-old woman in a care home, revealed Mr Rothwell.

Gemma Gordon, representing Ley, said she intended to repay “every single penny.” Her baby was now eight months old and was being looked after by Ley’s mother. “She does show a genuine remorse,” added Miss Gordon. Seeking a suspended sentence, she said it would enable the probation service to become involved.

The judge told Ley that it had been a serious breach of trust. “The victim was deliberately targeted on the basis of her vulnerability,” said Judge Rees. “There must have been emotional distress to this elderly lady.”

Judge Rees declared : “We have looked at this very carefully and in our judgement this appeal does not have any merit. “ 

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