Portsmouth carer caught on live-stream CCTV stealing from pensioner with dementia

A CONCERNED grandson caught a carer red-handed rifling through his bed-bound grandmother’s purse after watching live footage streamed from a CCTV camera he installed.

Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 8:44 am

Stuart Vaizey, 36, took the drastic steps to catch Kerry Claridge after accusations started to fly between family members over 81-year-old widow Joyce Cooper’s missing money.

Grandmother-of-three Mrs Cooper, who had dementia and had suffered a stroke, was being looked after at Brunel Court in Nutfield Place, Landport.

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard suspicions arose after Mrs Cooper reported missing cash - with her grandson then installing the camera.

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Kerry Claridge, 32, of St Paul's Square, Southsea, admitted to stealing from 81-year-old Joyce Cooper after being caught on CCTV installed by her concerned grandson Stuart Vaizey. Picture: (191020-8024)

Single mum Claridge, 32, of St Paul’s Square, Southsea, wept in the dock as the court was told she stole £50 and cigarettes on two occasions.

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Footage captured on April 24 - after the victim returned home from hospital after suffering a stroke - showed Claridge going through her belongings while another carer looked after her properly.

Mr Vaizey stormed to the sheltered housing block to confront the thief, but she fled from a back door. He found an earlier theft on the recordings on March 19.

Kerry Claridge, 32, of St Paul's Square, Southsea, admitted to stealing from 81-year-old Joyce Cooper after being caught on CCTV installed by her concerned grandson Stuart Vaizey. Picture: (191020-8020)

When later questioned by police, Claridge admitted she had struck a third, earlier, time between January 1 and March 18 before the CCTV was installed in the living room.

Speaking after she pleaded guilty and was warned she faced jail, Mr Vaizey told The News: ‘I’m absolutely disgraced by it as (carers) are put into a position of trust and should feel compassion for the old people they work with - not choose to steal from people who are vulnerable and have dementia.’

Mr Vaizey said relatives stopped seeing his grandmother as they feared being wrongly accused of taking the money.

‘I needed to see if my nan was spending it or if it was a member of the family, or if it was indeed the care staff,’ he said.

Kerry Claridge caught on CCTV

‘We shouldn’t have to do things like this - it’s a supposedly safe secure environment for elderly people and I feel that this should never happen to people like this.’

He added: ‘It’s been hard for the family as there have been accusations that it could have been them. It's been extremely affecting my nan as people stopped going to see her as they felt they were being blamed.

‘My nan could not remember back then but it has since stuck in her memory.

‘She says it’s horrible and that she’s a horrible person for stealing her money, and she thought she was a nice girl as she always tried to be nice to her.’

Kerry Claridge caught on CCTV

Magistrates yesterday said unemployed Claridge could face a jail term when she is sentenced on December 9.

Prosecutor Liam Hunter said the thefts were low value but the victim was 81 at the time, bed-bound and needed essential care.

Natalie Dennington, for Claridge, said ‘she has been suffering significantly’ and added: ‘She knows she’s done wrong.’

Claridge had posted some money back through the letterbox ‘as she knew she shouldn’t have done it,’ Ms Dennington said.

Claridge was bailed to appear at court for sentencing.

Stuart Vaizey, 36, installed a CCTV camera to catch the thief who was stealing money from his grandmother Joyce Cooper, who was 81 at the time and has dementia. Picture: Sarah Standing (191020-8045)

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