Care home boss jailed

By Laura Payne Monday 18 February 2013 Updated: 18/02 13:20

A FORMER care home manager has been jailed after admitting stealing thousands of pounds from vulnerable residents to fund her drug habit.

Dionne Halliburton, 41, worked at Stonham Housing in Ipswich Walk, Chelmsley Wood, a sheltered accommodation centre which cares for people with severe mental health issues.

She was jailed for 12 months at Birmingham Crown Court after she admitted fraudulently taking more than £5,000 from the accounts of four vulnerable residents over an eight month period.

Halliburton's victims included three women in their 50s, one of whom suffered from schizophrenia, and a 61-year-old man.

West Midlands Police launched an investigation into Halliburton after care home bosses raised concerns about her high absence record.

They conducted a finance audit and found several suspicious withdrawals.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Adam Ridout, said: "Halliburton was employed to look after some of the most vulnerable people in society but instead she abused her position to cruelly steal from them.

"It was a shocking, calculated abuse of trust.

"Some of the victims had serious mental health issues and, due to them not being able to manage their own finances, that responsibility lay with Halliburton.

"She had authority to withdraw money for their personal use but instead she spent it on herself, largely to fund a drug habit."

Halliburton, from Parkfield Drive in Castle Bromwich, stole the money between July 2011 and April 2012 while she was entrusted with monitoring residents' accounts.

And she signed off each of her fraudulent transactions to give the impression they were authorised.

"She deemed it an easy crime because of the vulnerability of her victims, but we will take strong action against anyone who takes advantage of the elderly or disabled whether in care or in their own homes," DC Ridout added.

Halliburton was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for each of the four offences, to run concurrently.

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