Hartlepool nurse pleads guilty to using elderly patient's bank card to buy wallpaper and household goods - and pay off debts
A nurse used a hospital patient’s bank card to pay off debts and buy things for herself while he was ill.
Leanne Wallace, 40, from Hartlepool used 84-year-old Leslie Rushworth’s bank card after taking it from his wallet while she worked at the University Hospital of North Tees last July.
Teesside Magistrates Court heard she used the card to pay off a number of debts and buy wallpaper, home items and order things from Amazon totalling over £1,000.
Mr Rushworth went into a hospice a short time later and died.
Wallace pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by abuse of position when she appeared in court on Monday, October 18.
Alan Davison, prosecuting, described how Mr Rushworth, from Seaton Carew, was admitted to hospital with a number of health problems including pneumonia, anorexia and general deterioration.
During a visit by his son he noticed a message from his father’s bank on his phone about suspected fraudulent activity.
He initially dismissed it as spam, but the family later investigated when their suspicions were aroused by further messages.
Mr Davison said: “He used his father’s iPad and other apps on online banking to see financial transactions had been carried out while his father was in hospital and ill which his father wasn’t responsible for.
“It transpired on investigations with the hospital Miss Wallace was on nursing duty at the time.”
Mr Rushworth’s family described their shock at discovering a nurse was responsible for the offences.
His son Guy told the Mail: “I couldn’t believe that somebody in his care could have done something like that and I refused to believe it until it became apparent she had done this.
"The calculation of it knows no bounds. We’re still flabbergasted a year on.”
He said the family had not been able to grieve properly as a result adding: “Today is closure for us to a point.”
Solicitor Alex Bousfield, representing Wallace, said the money she used to pay off a loan had been returned by the credit company.
District Judge Thomas Moran sent the case to Teesside Crown Court due to its stronger sentencing powers and ordered a report.
Wallace, of Challoner Road, Hartlepool, is due to be sentenced on Monday, November 15.
The Mail has contacted North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust for comment.