A callous woman who befriended a 98-year-old dementia sufferer before ransacking his home for cash was caught in the act on a secret camera.
Kelly Bolam, 33, appeared to make friends with dementia sufferer Edward Elliott after she found him living alone with no family to support him.
While the pensioner was delighted to have someone to care about him, Bolam was stealing Mr Elliott's pension and cash to pay off a drugs debt.
The thief, also known as Sewell, was caught red-handed when police installed a hidden camera at the victim's home.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Bolam went into Mr Elliott's flat and was heard talking about his bank card and complaining his carers had put his savings in the bank.
The elderly man, who lived in Cruddas Park House - a tower block in Newcastle, was found the next day with a mystery injury to his hand and his bed was littered with crisps and biscuits.
He had no family and was solely reliant on social services.
Bolam from Ethel Street, Benwell, Newcastle, admitted burglary and fraud and was sentenced to a 20-month custodial sentence.
But Mr Elliott did not live long enough to see the court case.
Sentencing Bolam, Judge John Milford QC said: "In the belief that you offered him friendship, he allowed you into his home.
"His carers realised something was awry, the police became involved and a camera was set up which revealed it was you who was committing these offences against him.
"The victim was especially vulnerable on account of his age and the mental confusion he was suffering from.
"Uppermost in my mind in a case like this, involving a 98-year-old man, must be punishment and the reduction of crime by deterrent."
The court heard that in December he told his carers a woman had visited and asked to borrow money.
At the time, he did not trust banks and was in the habit of keeping thousands of pounds in savings in his home, and he told his carers he had agreed to loan her the money.
Alarmed, they arranged for the £9,000 in cash in his home to be put in the bank.
But by then Bolam realised Mr Elliott was easy prey and kept turning up at his home.
Posing as a friend, she stole his pension giro and cash while his back was turned.
In January, carers found Mr Elliott confused sayin he couldn’t find his pension and weeks later the same thing happened after he didn’t have as much cash as usual.
He mentioned his friend Bolam had been but said he thought she was a carer.
Police installed the covert cameras into Mr Elliott's flat to catch the culprit and days later his carers found Mr Elliott with a fresh cut and swelling to his hand - the cause of which he couldn’t remember.
Money was missing and there were crisps and biscuits in his bed.
When the CCTV footage was examined it showed Bolam entering the flat in the early hours, having been let in by him.
She was seen looking at his care logs and heard making reference to bank cards and saying she didn’t understand why the carers had put his savings in the bank.
When she was arrested police found care records and bank statements belonging to the pensioner at her home.
Bolam admitted theft over a three week period, worth around £340.
She cashed one of the cheques and a male accomplice tried unsuccessfully to cash another. She also applied for a crisis loan in her victim’s name which was refused.
Bolam pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary and three of fraud by false representation.
She claimed to have stolen the money to pay off a £300 drugs debt.
Paul Caulfield, defending, said Bolam had drink and drugs problems and her father was murdered in 2006.
He said: "These were bad offences committed against a vulnerable victim."
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