MOAN SHARK |
Disgraced carer who stole €45K from OAP complains ‘life has been turned upside down’
‘I’m all over Facebook now’
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A disgraced carer who admitted stealing more than €45,000 from an elderly client complained her life had been turned ‘upside down’ by the subsequent publicity, when approached by the Sunday World.
We called to the home of Catherine Gregg outside Belgooly in Cork on Wednesday — a week after she admitted to a string of 17 thefts from the pensioner stretching over a three-year-period.
Asked to discuss the thefts, Gregg said she wouldn’t do so, before adding the publicity around her guilty pleas has had a major impact on her life.
“No,” she said.
“Because my life has been turned upside down. Whatever I thought … I’m all over Facebook now.
“We are seriously struggling.”
A day after declining to explain her actions to the Sunday World, Gregg appeared before Cork Circuit Court where she was due to be sentenced on 17 counts of theft from her elderly charge.
At Friday’s sitting, the 46-year-old sought an adjournment in order that she might be given an opportunity to raise compensation for her victim.
Gregg’s barrister, Paula McCarthy, also applied for free legal aid to be extended for the preparation of a consultant psychologist’s report.
Prosecution barrister, Imelda Kelly, indicated that the State had no objection to the accused being remanded on continuing bail in those circumstances.
Judge Boyle adjourned sentencing until November 14.
At a previous sitting at district court level, where Gregg had pleaded guilty, Sgt Paul Kelly said the 17 thefts before the court were under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Theft and Fraud Offences Act.
All 17 counts, he told Bandon District Court, related to when Gregg was working as a carer.
The sums involved were as small as €14.50 but also involved larger amounts, such as €1,866.69 taken on a date in November 2018.
The specific amount stolen in total amounted to €45,773.93, the court was told.
The offences occurred on dates from 1 September 2018 to 30 September 2021 and involve varying amounts.
The judge also heard that it involved the same injured party in all incidents.
Judge James McNulty said on hearing the financial scale of the thefts: “That is indeed a serious matter.”
Following Friday’s adjournment in the Circuit Court, Gregg remains on bail on her own bond of €5,000.
Alone — the organisation that enables older people to age at home — warned just last year that the level of crime, including financial crime targeting the elderly, had skyrocketed during the Covid 19 pandemic.
The warning came after figures released to Deputy Fergus O’Dowd showed that almost 16,000 cases of elder abuse, a category which includes financial abuse, had been reported within Health Service Executive-funded services for older people over the previous five years.
Alone noted that a worrying, but not unexpected, increase in reported elder abuse concerns took place during the pandemic.
The organisation also pointed out that many older people experienced a loss of independence due to the COVID-19 restrictions and had to resort to relying on others for support and assistance in their day-to-day lives, leaving them more at risk of abuse.
At the time, Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said: “Elder abuse manifests itself in many forms. It may be physical, psychological, emotional, financial, sexual, discrimination, or neglect. It may be controlling an older person’s pension, overcharging them for odd jobs or making them feel like a burden.
“Elder abuse is an insidious form of abuse that often goes quietly unseen and it is not talked about enough in today’s society. Older people with health, financial, and other difficulties can be particularly at risk.
“Unfortunately, in many cases, elder abuse is carried out by people we already know and believe we can trust.”