Victim’s family’s anger that Gosport thief has not gone to jail

Nichola Quirke leaves Portsmouth Crown Court
Nichola Quirke leaves Portsmouth Crown Court
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PARENTS of one of the vulnerable adults whom care home manager Nichola Quirke stole from say they are ‘disgusted’ that she has not gone to prison.

Quirke, of Sandford Avenue, Gosport, took advantage of vulnerable patients in her care by plundering their bank accounts for thousands of pounds.

The 38-year-old stole money from five residents at Brooklands Care Home, in Brockhurst Road, Gosport, which she was trusted to run over a two-year period, before she was eventually rumbled by the care home owner.

She pleaded guilty to all five counts of fraud, which took place over two years up to September 1, 2013.

Recorder Nigel Atkinson, during a hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court, sentenced her to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, ordered her to complete 150 hours of unpaid community work, directed her to pay £2,600 compensation, which will be split between the five victims, and also imposed a victim surcharge.

The parents of one of the vulnerable adults, who asked not to be named for fear of being further targeted, said the fraud was more than just about the money – and that it had been a complete breach of trust.

Speaking after the court case, the resident’s mother said: ‘It is disgusting. She was just an out-and-out thief.

‘You look after a disabled child as much as you physically can and it gets to a point where you have no alternative but to put them into a care home and then people like Quirke rip you off.

‘Her sentence is not justice, for us she got off very lightly.’

They said they had no problem with the care home and that it had provided a very good standard of care.

They said that the care home owners, Roger and Debbie Bird, had been very supportive and the rest of the staff had been ‘excellent.’

The victim’s father said: ‘Since Quirke has gone, it has been better. She was a bad apple. The care home owners trusted her. We all trusted her.’

Det Con Marie Duffy, who was the police officer in the case, said: ‘I am pleased that this result will bring some sense of closure for the five service users and their families who were abused financially by Quirke’s actions.

‘I welcome the sentence and that Quirke will not be able to work in this position of trust again in the future.’