Ex-NHS nurse spends dying patient's funds on self
Leslie Rushworth, Leanne WallaceEvening Gazette

Ex-NHS nurse spends dying patient's funds on self

The former NHS nurse had used Rushworth's card to pay off a £900 loan, buy a £700 bed...

40-year-old nurse, Leanne Wallace, who stole a dying man’s bankcard has been sentenced to jail.

Wallace spent almost £1,700 of a patient’s money in an ‘appalling abuse of trust’ while working at University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton.

A vulnerable 84-year-old Leslie Rushworth was being cared for in a hospice while suffering with pneumonia, anorexia and mental health problems when the crime came to light.

The grandad-of-four, died on July 16 2020, nearly two weeks after being admitted to hospital and after being transferred for end of life care.

Wallace was jailed after pleading guilty to four counts of fraud.

The former NHS nurse had used Rushworth's card to pay off a £900 loan, buy a £700 bed and spend around £100 quid on wallpaper and Amazon purchases.

It was also revealed in court Wallace continued to be employed as a carer, despite losing her job with the NHS.

Prosecutor Emma Atkinson told Teesside Crown Court how Mr Rushworth’s son became suspicious when he noticed a message on his dad’s phone from NatWest about suspected fraudulent activity.

He initially thought it was a scam until he saw a similar message, 24 hours before his father died.

A check of his dad’s banking app revealed financial transactions had been carried out on his card while he was in hospital.

The family discovered Wallace was behind the purchases after Home Living confirmed a bed was due to be delivered to her address.

He rang the hospital, at which point it became clear the culprit was a member of staff and not another patient.

Wallace denied any knowledge and told the police her phone was being repaired, later surrendering it with all the data prior to August 2020 wiped.

She then tried to claim Mr Rushworth had been ‘generous’ and offered to help her pay off her loan and bought the bed without her knowledge.

Defending the nurse, Stephen Constantine said Wallace had been ‘desperate’ following the collapse of marriage and had saved up £1,700 to bring to court to repay the family, unaware the bank had refunded the money already.

Presiding judge, Howard Crowson, sentenced Wallace to 14 months behind bars.

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