The daughter of a vulnerable pensioner whose carer stole money from him in his own home said the woman’s sentence was ‘pathetic’ after she walked free from court.
Theresa Stratton appeared at Chichester Crown Court on Friday, having been found guilty of stealing from David Skerritt in his Rustington bungalow. She was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 260 hours of unpaid work and 10 days of rehabilitation.
Speaking afterwards Joanne Martinez, Mr Skerritt’s daughter, said the sentence was a ‘massive let down’. The 47-year-old coffee kart owner added: “I thought it was pathetic. It was far too lenient; she should have got an immediate incarceration. It sends out a message that if it’s your first offence, you can do whatever you like.”
Stratton, a Caremark employee, was caught taking money from the 74-year-old’s wallet on a CCTV camera in his home in Milton Avenue, Rustington, in August 2015 – days after the company began caring for him. Mr Skerritt suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had cameras installed after he kept falling regularly.
Mr Skerritt’s daughter said the incident took a big toll on her father’s health, making him paranoid and unable to sleep. He passed away on September 9, last year, after battling dementia in his final months. She said: “When is [Stratton] going to say sorry? Why is she allowed to show no remorse and take zero responsibility and stay out of prison?”
Mr Skerritt, originally from Wimbledon, worked for Radio Rentals and installed televisions for the royal family, for which he received a Royal Victorian Medal in the 1991 New Years Honour’s list.
Why is she allowed to show no remorse and take zero responsibility and stay out of prison?Joanne Martinez
A fan of The Eagles, Mr Skerritt moved to Rustington with his wife Patricia, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 2006. His daughter said: “My dad worked hard all his life; he never made any excuses for anything and he never took a day off in his life. [Stratton] chose to do that to him; she should have been punished harder.”
Stratton was dismissed by Caremark when the theft was discovered. Andrew Demetriou, managing director of Caremark in Worthing, was ‘extremely disappointed in the sentence’ and felt Stratton’s actions were ‘a totally unacceptable breach of trust’.
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