A CHESHIRE West and Chester Council social worker from Wrexham has admitted stealing more than £90,000 from three elderly, vulnerable victims.

Chester Magistrates Court heard on Friday, January 17 that Karen Kersey-Smith, 47, of Wheat Close, Gwersyllt, took the money from three people she was supposed to be looking after, using the money to fund regular lavish holidays for herself.

Kersey-Smith pleaded guilty to three theft offences, which collectively took place between November 2015 and September 2017.

Prosecuting, Alison Warburton said sadly, one of the three victims had since passed away since the crime was committed.

Kersey-Smith was employed by Cheshire West and Chester Council as a social worker and had stolen money from the accounts of three vulnerable, elderly people.

One of the crimes took place between November 2015 and September 2017, with Kersey-Smith stealing a total of £41,494.38 during that time. Most of the money had been cashed out in Cheshire, Flintshire and Merseyside and one cheque had been written out to the defendant.

The victim had poor sight and would rely on their social worker, Kersey-Smith, to pay for various expenses.

The second victim, who gave her bank card to Kersey-Smith for the purpose of small errands, such as buying a sandwich from the shops, had £27,642.74 stolen over the course of 15 months.

Ms Warburton told the court the third victim did not have capacity, and Kersey-Smith obtained bank cards to steal £21,191.86 over a period of 15 months.

The total amount stolen was £90,328.98 and the court heard Kersey-Smith had been "taking regular expensive holidays with the money".

When interviewed by police, Kersey-Smith initially only admitted the £41k theft and claimed she used the money to put into charity boxes such as Cancer Research, after her father had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

She said she had £10,000 in her savings account and could use that to repay some of the money taken.

When further interviewed, she again did not admit the other two offences, saying she "did not even know" them.

However, before magistrates, she pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

The court heard Kersey-Smith had no previous convictions.

It was argued the case was too serious to be sentenced by magistrates, citing the offences involving serious breaches of trust, the length of time the offences spanned was significant, the victims were particularly vulnerable and the amount of money taken was more than £90,000.

Defending, Gemma Zakrzewski agreed the case should be sentenced at Chester Crown Court, and asked that a pre-sentence report be prepared, and there may be a medical report requested for Kersey-Smith.

Kersey-Smith was unconditionally bailed to appear at Chester Crown Court on Friday, February 14.