Carer stole �10,000 from Norfolk pensioner

Christine CunninghamA carer at a Norfolk residential home stole �10,000 emptying the bank account of a frail 85 year-old pensioner he was meant to be helping, a court heard.Christine Cunningham

A carer at a Norfolk residential home stole �10,000 emptying the bank account of a frail 85 year-old pensioner he was meant to be helping, a court heard yesterday

Tom Zolynski, 35, worked at Brooke House residential home, in Brooke , near Norwich, and as a care worker had access to the bank details of Dennis Digby, a resident at the home, who suffered from short term memory loss.

Norwich Crown Court heard how he stole all Mr Digby's savings from his bank account and despite claiming he needed the cash to help his sick daughter in Poland, the prosecution said that he used the money to buy himself luxuries such as electronic gadgets, mobile phones and a new car as well as presents for his girlfriend at the time.

Nicola May, prosecuting, said that the thefts came to light when Zolynski was suspended from his job, in August, last year, about another matter and it was discovered that Mr Digby's account was overdrawn even though he had not been in any position to withdraw cash from his account because of his poor health.

Miss May said that an investigation revealed that Zolynski had taken the cash and colleagues revealed how they noticed his spending seemed to exceed his �900 to �1000 a month earnings.

'His extravagant way of living was noticed as he always seemed to have the latest gadgets and mobile phones, clothing and laptops and seemed to be spending a lot of money changing his cars.'

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Zolynski was arrested and it was discovered that although he was of good character in this country he had convictions for fraud and dishonesty, in Poland.

The court heard that the victim Mr Digby died in March, this year.

Zolynski, who is now living in Sussex, admitted the theft of the cash.

Jailing him for two years Judge Simon Barham told Zolynski: 'You were employed as a carer and you were stealing from a frail old man with limited mental capacity. This was not an isolated offence.'

He said that Zolynski claimed he used the money to send to his sick daughter, in Poland, who has since died, but said: 'Whatever the situation relating to your daughter, the money you stole did not go to her, but was spent on you.'

'It was a breach of a high degree of trust involving an elderly man, who you were employed to care for.'

Philip Farr, for Zolynski, said that his daughter needed an operation and said: 'It was at that point that he decided to raise money by stealing from Mr Digby to provide medical care for his daughter. He does not accept any evidence of a lavish lifestyle.

He said that Zolynski's daughter had died, while he was on remand in prison.

He said that Zolynski had recently married and was in a position to offer �5000 compensation.