Fake nurse who handed out 2,000 vaccinations avoids jail
A BOGUS NURSE who gave almost 2,000 patients cervical smears and vaccinations she was not qualified to carry out was today spared jail.
Former health care assistant Denice Stewart, 48, had admitted theft, fraud, deception and forgery after posing as a registered nurse for six years.
When she was arrested in July 2011, the surgeries she worked at in Essex and Kent were forced to offer patients retests and additional treatment.
Imposing a sentence of 20 months imprisonment suspended for two years at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Carey said Stewart's criminal activity had been of a "persistent and highly premeditated kind".
He said: "I have reached the chonclusion that uppermost in your mind at all times was a desire to have a status which you had not earned and which you did not deserve.
"You were deceiving others, you were deceiving yourself and living in a bubble of deception and self-deception," he added.
Wearing a red jacket over a black suit and with her hair in a ponytail, Stewart kept her head bowed as her sentence was read out.
In total, the mother-of-one gave 1,100 patients vaccinations and performed 686 cervical smears while working at three surgeries in Kent between 2006 and 2010.
During a previous job in Essex, she administered 67 jabs and carried out 46 cervical smears she was not qualified to perform.
Stewart, of Northfields in Speldhurst, near Tunbridge Wells, evaded "limited if non-existent" inquiries by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Alan Gardner, for the prosecution, told the court that the origins of her fraud could be traced back to 2003, when she was living in Darlington, County Durham.
During this period Stewart and her husband, who worked in the military, moved into a property previously occupied by a genuine nurse called Amaya Lloyd-Johnson.
When Ms Lloyd-Johnson moved to Canada in 2003, she omitted to inform the NMC, Mr Gardner said.
By "intercepting" her correspondence, Stewart was able to obtain a registered nurse's identification card which she gradually modified to fit her own name.
Moving first to Saffron Walden in Essex and then to Gillingham and Chatham in Kent, she made a total of £73,910 from performing the role of a qualified nurse.
But Peter Alcock, for the defence, said his client had not been motivated by financial gain.
He described Stewart as a "fragile, vulnerable, damaged individual who clearly suffered from low self-worth and low self-esteem".
The court heard that she had made a suicide attempt last autumn and both her and her son are suffering from mental health problems.
Last month she pleaded guilty to one count of theft, one of possession of articles for use in frauds, two of obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception, three of fraud and one of using a false instrument with intent.