A carer has been jailed for three years after she breached the trust of vulnerable clients by helping a prolific burglar to steal from their homes.
Janet Kaye, 55, claimed she was acting under pressure when she helped Craig Armitage to take valuable property and hundreds of pounds in cash from homes in Brighouse and Huddersfield.
Bradford Crown Court heard today (Thursday) how Kaye was seen acting suspiciously near the flat of a 94-year-old woman who had been taken into hospital following a fall at her home in Huddersfield Road, Brighouse, last October.
A neighbour reported her concerns and when the flat was checked it was discovered that various property including valuable candlesticks, paintings and ornaments had been stolen.
Kaye had been employed as a carer for the victim and was suspected of involvement in the crime after it was discovered that there was no sign of a forced entry into the flat.
Prosecutor Ben Crosland said during the police inquiry officers seized a mobile phone belonging to 41-year-old Armitage and found the number of an antiques shop.
When police officers visited the premises the owner said he had bought items from the couple, who were then living at Green Hill Road, Longwood, Huddersfield.
Although some of the stolen items were recovered Mr Crosland said the candlesticks, valued at £500, had not been found.
A few days later Armitage used information from Kaye to burgle the home of two more vulnerable clients who lived at a property in Bay Close, Huddersfield.
During that night-time burglary about £300 in cash was stolen from the property while the two women were asleep in their beds.
The court head that Armitage’s fingerprint was later found on one of the cash boxes.
About a fortnight after that burglary Armitage tried to break into another house in Smith Lane, Bradford, during the daytime, but eventually fled empty-handed.
Armitage, of Green Hill Road, was jailed for a total of three years and five months after he pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary and one of burglary with intent.
Kaye, now of Greens End, Meltham, Huddersfield, admitted being involved in the Brighouse burglary, but she was found guilty of involvement in the second burglary following a trial.
Barrister Joanne Shepherd, for Kaye, said she was a woman with long-standing health problems and she was the primary carer for her own mother.
Miss Shepherd said Kaye felt under tremendous pressure at the time of the offences as a result of her co-defendant’s drug addiction and she succumbed to that pressure to her eternal shame.
She submitted that Kaye had learned her lesson and urged Judge John Potter to impose a suspended prison term in her client’s case.
But Judge Potter said the offences against Kaye’s clients were particularly mean and involved the targeting of vulnerable victims for the defendants’ own selfish and greedy needs.
The court heard that Armitage’s previous convictions, which dated back to 1989, included offences of house burglary and robbery and Judge Potter said his career of offending had “spread misery in our community”.