THE widower of an elderly hospital patient whose bank cards were stolen by a thieving nurse has branded the health worker a “disgrace”.
Rubilita Coggin was jailed for 15 months last week for pocketing two debit cards belonging to Connie Jones after the OAP was admitted to the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Mrs Jones, 87, never recovered from her illness and died two weeks later in April last year.
Coggin, of Elmwood Road, Hartlepool, admitted the offence after frittering away £4,700 of Mrs Jones’ money on online gambling sites.
Today her distraught husband of 60 years Peter, 86, said: “This was utterly disgraceful to the nursing profession.”
Mr Jones, of Blackhall, had discovered the despicable theft after his wife’s bank statements arrived about a month later and he noticed discrepancies.
The dad-of-two and granddad-of-four said: “It was a blessing my wife didn’t know she had been robbed.”
He said his wife had gone into hospital with a disease and he expected that she was going to be well enough to go home in the days before her death.
But Mrs Jones died from heart failure after a sudden relapse.
He had taken his wife’s belongings, including her handbag, home after she died, but did not check their contents for some time.
Mr Jones said: “I didn’t realise her purse was missing, but after I got the statements in from Lloyd’s Bank when I looked the purse was missing with all the cards in it.
“I realised something was sadly wrong.”
He said instead of the usual two pages, there were 10 to 12 pages with dozens and dozens of transactions on them.
He added that most of the amounts were typically £50, £70 or £80, which he believed was to avoid triggering security measures.
Mr Jones reported his suspicions to Peterlee Police, but they transferred the investigation to Hartlepool Police, as the hospital is in their jurisdiction area.
Coggin, 48, was arrested and eventually prosecuted and she appeared at Teesside Crown Court last week to admit two counts of theft and two charges of fraud by false representation.
A victim impact statement read out to the court described how Mr Jones “simply couldn’t cope” with the betrayal of trust.
Mr Jones said; “It’s terrible, taking from an old lady lying asleep helpless and robbing her of her cards to use for betting, it didn’t even go to a good cause.
“It’s utterly disgraceful to the nursing profession. Nurses are meant to be honest and look after people, but obviously those days are gone.
“She can’t be representative of the nursing profession, it’s a sad story.”
Mr Jones, who said he did not remember seeing Coggin before, praised Lloyd’s Bank for recouping the stolen money and the police for bringing Coggin to justice.
He described her sentence as “due punishment” and added: “I’m glad it turned out this way.”