This shocking footage captures the sickening moment a trusted carer stole cash out of the handbag of a vulnerable pensioner.
Evil Leila Denton was caught red-handed on a hidden camera installed by the suspicious relatives of frail Irene Houston after the widow’s sons began to notice money missing from her purse.
Tragically, Mrs Houston, who had infections and diabetes among other ailments, fell seriously ill in the weeks following the theft and passed away at the age of 79.
However, despite her illness, brave Mrs Houston was determined to bring Denton to justice.
Mrs Houston’s son, David Kelly said: “Two days before my mother’s death she was adamant we carried on with the prosecution because she didn’t want anyone else to be affected by it.”
The disturbing CCTV lasts for almost a minute and shows 20-year-old Denton looking anxiously for signs of anyone coming as she sits down in a chair and rifles through Mrs Houston’s handbag.
Mr Kelly, one of Mrs Houston’s sons, installed the fingernail-sized device on a chair leg at his mother’s warden-controlled maisonette in Kearsley, Bolton.
Speaking about his suspicions, Mr Kelly said: “My mum put me in charge of her money because she was struggling and I used to put cash in her purse.
“Initially £20 went missing from my mother’s purse and we put it down to the fact that she’d been a bit forgetful and had given it to someone.
“A couple of days later I put some money in her purse and went back the following day and £70 had gone.
“We knew she had not left the house that night and we thought it was strange.”
Mr Kelly added: “It started raising suspicions and I started checking her purse every day from then on and £20 had gone, then £30 had gone and it actually went up to £130.”
With their suspicions raised, Mr Kelly was astounded by what he eventually found – just an hour and a half after the recording began.
The video shows Denton waiting until Mrs Houston leaves the room before sitting in her chair and dipping into her bag lying on a wheeled tray and removing £20 from the purse.
Mr Kelly said: “Leila knew my mum was poorly. It’s terrible.
“She was a hard-working person and the fact that someone stole from her is not nice at all.”
Denton had been caring for Ms Houston for about six weeks when the offence occurred under an NHS-funded post-hospital rehabilitation care package provided by Bolton-based Mayday Homecare.
The pensioner, a retired supervisor at a pharmacy packaging factory, was visited four times a day by carers – Denton and others – but at the end most of the visits were made by Denton, whose court case related to only the last £20 that went missing.
Mr Kelly said: “My mum, brothers and I were absolutely devastated to discover that a carer, who is in a position of trust, was stealing from my mum’s purse.
“It had taken the family over 12 months to persuade my mum to get help in the first place but, being a proud lady, she was always insistent that she could manage.
“We were over the moon when my mum agreed to allow carers and a district nurse into her home to help her with her everyday needs, so you can only imagine the terrible feeling we all had when we found out somebody was stealing from her.
“It was devastating.”
The registered manager of Mayday Homecare, who did not wish to disclose her name, said: “I can confirm that we fully co-operated with the family and the police.
“Leila Denton was instantly suspended and immediately dismissed and we reported her to the Disclosure and Barring Service.”
The agency refused to say how long Denton, who was sentenced to a 12-month community order of 100 hours unpaid work by magistrates, had been in their employment.
Mr Kelly said £120 compensation Denton must pay will be donated to Age UK because after retirement Mrs Houston did a lot of voluntary work for what was then called Help The Aged.