Wednesday 11 December 2019

Pensioner 'set a trap' to catch care worker thief who stole €14k to fund lavish lifestyle

Danielle McDermott
Danielle McDermott

Donna Deeney

One of the victims betrayed by a trusted care worker who stole more than £11,000 (€14,000) from vulnerable pensioners to fund a lavish lifestyle of holidays, spa treatments and fine dining says the thief should never be allowed near old people again.

Danielle McDermott (25), whose address cannot be given because of a verifiable paramilitary threat against her partner, abused her position to steal from two elderly and frail pensioners in Derry.

McDermott admitted the thefts which took place at the two women's homes over a period of nine months between August 2013 and May 2014.

One of her victims, Dinah Porter from Creggan, is a softly-spoken woman of 89 who lives with her husband David (90).

Following a bad fall in 2013, Mrs Porter was hospitalised for a lengthy period and needed after-care when she came home, which was how she met McDermott.

Rather than caring for her elderly patient, McDermott took every opportunity that presented itself to search the couple's bungalow and steal money from Mrs Porter's purse.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs Porter said whatever sentence befalls McDermott, she only has herself to blame.

"I don't understand how anyone could steal from someone else. I couldn't do it because it is wrong but she was able to and I don't think it bothered her, Mrs Porter said. "She wasn't coming here very long when I started to feel uneasy about her.

"I wondered about her because she was always very interested in taking me shopping and she was only supposed to help me here in the house after I came back from the hospital. She was a lovely-looking girl and very interested in make-up and style but that's the way when you are young, but I wondered why she was always asking me about going shopping.

"I told her I didn't want to go to the shops with her because I was uneasy and my family could take me. Then we noticed my money was going missing.

"We searched everywhere but then my daughter Laura set a trap because we thought it was her but couldn't prove it.

"Laura put her mobile phone in my room where it couldn't be seen and sure enough we saw her bending down and taking the money from my purse.

"She used to bring me breakfast which she didn't need to do but she would tell me to come out to the kitchen and get it.

"We know now that was to get me out of the bedroom so she could be there on her own.

"It is a terrible thing that has happened. It has upset me and I will be glad when it is over. We didn't have a whole lot of money, just our pensions, but I don't drink or smoke so it was enough for us.

"I don't know what is going to happen to her now but she brought it on herself and has no one else to blame and she should never be allowed near old people again.

"She can't be trusted.

"I have other ones that come here now instead. They come in pairs now and I like them a lot. They couldn't do enough for me."

In addition to the theft of Mrs Porter's money, McDermott also admitted stealing from a 75-year-old woman suffering the onset of dementia.

This victim had her bank account reduced from £11,195 to just £474 between August 2013 and April 2014 when McDermott was her carer.

The woman's debit card was seized by the police and her bank statements showed a constant series of withdrawals from her account.

McDermott will be sentenced at Derry Court today.

Belfast Telegraph

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