A WOMAN who stole £1,700 from an elderly couple in a gross abuse of trust has been sent to prison.

Karen Lunt, 37, of Catherine Street, Widnes, was sentenced in Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, Friday, for three counts of fraud by misrepresentation.

Lunt was caring for the couple, who have disabilities and mobility problems, for one year when they noticed payments on a bank statement which they had not authorised.

Lunt knew their bank card details from when she had helped them pay for their shopping and an investigation found that she had used the card to pay for a holiday in Cornwall that cost nearly £1,000.

She also used it to pay off almost £700 of a personal loan.

Lunt originally denied the fraud offences, claiming that the couple gave her permission to spend the money.

But, after the couple attended court to give evidence, she changed her plea to guilty.

Lunt was sentenced to six months in prison and was made subject to a five-year restraining order to prevent her from going near the victims.

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Phil Brown said: “Lunt befriended the victims and gained their absolute trust over a year-long period as their carer.

“The elderly couple have disabilities and limited mobility and Lunt was employed to look after them.

“However, Lunt chose to abuse her position as the couple’s carer and she betrayed their trust in the most despicable way.

“Lunt’s actions have left the victims deeply upset and had a massive impact on their lives.

“She was like a family member to them and, although they will never be able to forget her betrayal and the anguish she has caused, I hope that the sentence imposed by the court will give them some closure.”

Chief inspector Simon Parsonage said: “I hope that this case reassures Widnes residents that the police treats fraud extremely seriously and we will take robust action against offenders involved in this type of crime and against anyone seeking to prey on vulnerable members of the community.”

If you are an ongoing victim of fraud contact Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or give the details online.

To report historic fraud offences call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.