The 53-year-old manager of an Eastbourne care home has been jailed after conning an elderly patient she was meant to be looking after out of more than £3,000.
Sentencing Delores Bajwa, former manager of the Elm Lodge Care Home in Enys Road, for fraud by abuse of her position, Her Honour Judge Shani Barnes said, “You were convicted by a jury of an offence of the utmost gravity. You were the manager of a care home and had a duty to safeguard the wellbeing of your patients, many of whom were vulnerable members of society. This was not a lapse in judgement. It involved a degree of planning.
“You planned to get from him as much money as you could. You complained about financial problems and pretended you had suffered a garage break-in which was going to cost thousands in repairs. Your husband took the victim to a cash point to get money. You then tried to persuade other members of staff to cover for you and used manipulation to obtain proof to back up your accounting.”
The offences took place between June and August 2012 and the sum of money involved was £3,420,00. At her three-day trial, Bajwa denied fraud but the jury found her guilty on all three counts.
Defending, Anthony Waller told Lewes Crown Court that Bajwa was of previous good character. “She is a very caring individual and this is out of character given her previous good work with vulnerable people.”
He explained that her husband is unable to find a job so their flat will be repossessed.Bajwa, who had suffered a breakdown, had been looking after her elderly mother, who has health problems.
DC Tania Snashall said, “Bajwa was employed in a position of utmost trust as the manager of a care home to safeguard vulnerable adults in her care and she abused this position to make a gain for herself. Her actions have caused a huge amount of stress and upset for the vulnerable victim involved in this care. The jury returned a verdict which will finally be able to give the victim closure on this matter which has been ongoing for 18 months. I would like to thank the care home for their co-operation throughout this investigation. Sussex Police is fully committed to investigating crimes against vulnerable adults and this care has shown that, with the co-operation of the people involved, justice has been done for a member of society that had been taken advantage of by someone he trusted implicitly.”
Bajwa was sentenced to a 20 months’ jail for the first count and nine months for each of two further counts, to be served concurrently. She will serve half the time in custody.