Suspended jail term for nurse who stole more than £17,000 from elderly neighbour

Lincoln Crown Court.
Lincoln Crown Court.

A senior psychiatric nurse from Skegness who stole more than £17,000 from an elderly neighbour after being trusted with her banks cards has today (Monday) been given a suspended jail sentence.

Brian McMahon, 51, admitted stealing £17,760 from 75-year-old Margaret Bradshaw after he was given the pensioner’s debit and credit cards while she recovered in a nursing home following a spell in hospital.

Lincoln Crown Court was told McMahon was allowed to use the cards for Mrs Bradshaw in an emergency but he gave in to temptation and helped himself to thousands of pounds.

Jack Talbot, prosecuting, said Mrs Bradshaw viewed McMahon in a little way as an ‘adopted son’ and was also friends with his wife. The theft was discovered when Mrs Bradshaw was taken to pay her residential home fees in October last year.

Mr Talbot told the court investigations showed Mrs Bradshaw’s debit card had been used to withdraw thousands of pounds from ATM machines in Skegness and Boston where McMahon worked. The cards had also been used to pay for fuel.

“Mrs Bradshaw was very upset and was tearful,” Mr Talbot added. “It is true she feels betrayed by him, but she also feels sorry for his children and wife.”

The court was told McMahon had now lost his job and was under suspension by his professional body.

Stephen Grattage, mitigating, said the theft did not occur in McMahon’s professional role.

Mr Grattage told the court: “This is a breach of trust within a friendship, he has let her down, but this was not a professional duty such as a doctor or nurse.”

He added: “This was a friend trying to help, but giving in to temptation.”

The court was told Mrs Bradshaw did not wish to see McMahon sent to jail. Mr Grattage said McMahon’s two children were now at university and he was considering selling his family’s home to help pay back his victim.

McMahon, of Sunningdale Drive, admitted a single charge of theft between March 2013 and November 2014.

He was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and must complete 250 hours of unpaid work. A hearing to decide on confiscation of his assets to pay compensation is to be held on a later date.

Judge John Pini QC, passing sentence, said: “This was a massive breach of trust. She feels very upset and betrayed but she also feels sorry for your family. She makes it clear that sending you to prison is not going to help her.”