A carer spent £25,000 of her mother’s life savings on dating site subscriptions, football tickets, and a new conservatory while her parent lay bed-bound in a care home. 

Catherine Richardson, of Pottery Close, Fairford Leys, Bucks, was locked up today after spending money meant for her mother’s care home costs on herself between 2014 and 2018. 

The 56-year-old’s mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2009 and was placed at River View care home in Tilehurst in 2012. 

Her home was sold for £140,000 in 2014 to pay for her care at River View and Richardson was legally made responsible for these funds. 

But in 2016 Richardson told Reading Borough Council she was running out of funds despite an estimation that the money should have lasted until late 2018. 

A review of the bank account showed spending on multiple purchases not related to the care of Richardson's mother, who died in 2020.

This included: 

  • Subscriptions to dating websites
  • Tickets to Reading FC matches
  • A new conservatory
  • More than a hundred cash withdrawals, including some in Spain
  • Payments for hotel stays
  • A £400 mobile phone
  • Spending on fuel, food and clothing

In total, Reading Crown Court heard how Richardson’s spending on herself totalled £25,000. 

In 2017, an eviction notice was served on Richardson’s mother as Riverview care home was owed £28,000 in outstanding costs. 

In interviews, Richardson claimed she bought her mother the mobile phone in 2017, but this was after her condition had deteriorated, making her bed-bound and without the mental capacity to use a mobile phone. 

Richardson’s defence barrister, Terry Pedro, said the defendant was ‘ashamed’ of what she had done. 

He said the money was initially used for the benefit of her mother, but ‘grey areas’, such as spending on hotels near the care home, became common and she accepts these purchases were ‘inappropriate.’

His Honour Judge Hassan Khan laid into Richardson for her behaviour. 

He said: “This offence was motivated by your greed, selfishness and serious dishonesty. 

“It was calculated and sustained over a four-year period. 

“Your actions were deplorable particularly as you perpetrated this fraud against your late mother. 

“You placed your mother’s care in serious jeopardy.”

Richardson, who has worked as a carer for 22 years, and who claimed to regularly win ‘carer of the month’ at her place of work, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for one count of fraud. 

She was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Monday, August 8.