TO THE outside world Bridget Sharpe was a respectable grandmother who ran a charity shop.
But for years the 54-year-old was secretly stealing thousands of pounds from her sick elderly father who she was supposed to be looking after.
Over four years, she drained £16,196.31 from 84-year-old Peter Sharpe’s bank account.
Today, the former manager of the Salvation Army shop in Gosport is waking up in a prison cell at the start of a 12-month jail sentence.
Detective Constable Gemma Hunter, who carried out the investigation, said: ‘She absolutely abused her position as his carer, but more importantly as his daughter.
‘Her dad trusted her and she abused that trust for nothing more than her own gain.
‘It left her dad absolutely devastated. He has had to go through the loss of the money but also the loss of his daughter as a result of this.’
Sharpe, of Welch Road, Gosport, was arrested after another relative spoke to the bank about missing money.
She had repeatedly forged his signature to write cheques to herself and used his bank card to withdraw cash between 2007 and 2011.
When interviewed by the police Sharpe denied stealing any money from her father, who lives in Southwick and needed care after suffering a number of heart attacks. But by the time the case got to court she changed her tune.
The grandmother-of-one pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position.
Det Con Hunter said: ‘It was an extremely hard thing for him to go through with the prosecution but he felt it was the right thing to do.
‘It’s terrible. You don’t expect your own daughter to rip you off, especially when you’re so poorly.’
Kate Fortescue, defending, said Sharpe’s family had all disowned her following the discovery of her dishonesty.
‘This is an offence that Miss Sharpe remains really at a loss to explain,’ she said.
‘She is not somebody who has sought simply to think about her own needs.
‘However for whatever reason this is how Miss Sharpe began to act.’
Miss Fortescue insisted Sharpe had not used the cash to live a life of luxury.
‘The money effectively enabled her to live a lot more comfortably than would otherwise have been the case,’ she said.
‘A TERRIBLE BETRAYAL’
SENTENCING Sharpe, Judge Susan Evans said she had betrayed her father.
She added: ‘He was in poor physical health. You were placed in a position of trust to assist him to some extent with his finances, as well as being his carer.
‘He was very vulnerable because of his age and it was a terrible betrayal of your father.
‘This was sustained dishonestly in breach of trust against a vulnerable victim.
‘It must be an immediate sentence of imprisonment because it’s so serious that a community sentence can’t be justified.’