FOR 30 years she has worked to look after other people.
But today Sally Jones is behind bars after stealing from one of her most vulnerable patients.
The 50-year-old carer drained £1,800 from the bank account of Margo Mitchell, a 76-year-old disabled woman she was supposed to be helping.
In the summer of last year Mrs Mitchell relied on carers to visit her home in Hilsea, Portsmouth, three times a day.
Jones, of Watts Road, Buckland, who has spent her life working in care, was one of her helpers. But on three occasions she took her victim’s bank card and withdrew money from the Post Office at the Bridge shopping centre in Fratton.
While Mrs Mitchell was left devastated by the theft Jones was having the time of her life, using the money to go on holiday to Egypt.
To this day Jones, who worked in the intermediate care team at St James’ Hospital in Southsea, has refused to own up to what she did.
Her denial meant Mrs Mitchell, described in court as a vulnerable woman with mental health problems, had to go through the trauma of giving evidence at a trial.
The jury at Portsmouth Crown Court convicted Jones of three counts of theft and one charge of converting criminal property. She was cleared of three other charges of theft.
Jailing her for six months Judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘Your victim was one of your patients, the elderly and vulnerable Margo Mitchell. You took advantage of her vulnerability. You resorted to this dishonest behaviour due to your own poor financial state and the fact that it was so easy to commit these offences and because you had little or no sympathy for Mrs Mitchell.’
The judge criticised Jones, pictured on the front page on an earlier trip to Egypt, for continuing to protest her innocence.
‘You haven’t faced up to what you have done,’ she said.
‘The evidence against you on these counts was overwhelming but still you stand before this court not prepared to accept your guilt. The only sentence that can be passed involving this sort of gross breach of trust is one of immediate custody.’
Sam Brown, defending, said the mother-of-one had acted on impulse and had been stupid.
‘The picture of this woman as a confident, devious and skilled thief is entirely inaccurate,’ he said.
Detective Constable Katie Ainsley, who led the investigation, said Mrs Mitchell and her family are still picking up the pieces.
‘This was a lengthy investigation into what was a very cruel act which left the victim devastated,’ she said.
‘It has had a massive impact on the victim’s quality of life.’