Thieving carer to repay just £1

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A MENCAP worker who stole £31,000 from a vulnerable woman she was supposed to be caring for has been ordered to repay her victim just £1.

Last month Denise Kiff, of St Leonard’s Close, Banbury, was handed a 16-month jail sentence at Oxford Crown Court after admitting 19 charges of fraud by abuse of position.

Last Thursday the 40-year-old returned to the same court for a proceeds of crime hearing, which is held to prevent defendants profiting from illegal activity.

During the hearing judge Mary Jane Mowat took into account Kiff’s available assets and her bankrupt status and ordered she repay £1 to her victim, who has the mental age of a five-year-old.

Following the hearing Kiff’s former employers at Mencap have said they will look at options to ensure her victim is not left out of pocket. Spokesman Elly Button said: “Mencap wholly condemns Kiff’s cynical exploitation of her victim, a person with a learning disability who was in her care.

“We are pleased that Kiff has been brought to justice following our contacting the police about her behaviour. While we are not able to comment on Kiff’s financial situation, or the judge’s decision, Mencap is exploring how best to ensure that the victim does not suffer financial loss.”

Kiff’s offences spanned four years from 2007 to 2011 while she was employed as a support worker for her carer to help with tasks including cooking, cleaning and supervising her finances.

But in what prosecutor Wendy Hewitt described as a “course of offending”, Kiff used the victim’s debit cards to make a series of transactions which included spending large sums at clothes shops and Chinese restaurants.

She also used the card to frequently withdraw cash and took out a £5,000 loan in the victim’s name, which was paid directly into Kiff’s account.

Her antics were only rumbled when Kiff was on sick leave and a stand-in support worker discovered a letter showing the victim’s bank account to be overdrawn.

The concerns were reported to Kiff’s manager who launched an internal investigation and later contacted the police.