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A care worker who stole thousands from a vulnerable woman was caught out by her husband when he heard her talking about the crime in her sleep.
Ruth Fort, 47, stole £7,200 from a wheelchair-bound woman she was meant to be looking after in a care home, but was eventually found out by husband Antony – who went on to report her to police.
Dad-of-three Antony had grown suspicious after Ruth spent thousands during a family holiday to Mexico, only to be woken up a month later by her mumbling ‘about money’ as she slept.
He then found the care resident’s debit card in her purse and took the matter to the police.
The 61-year-old said: "I had my suspicions when Ruth began over-spending. It was more of an instinct really, at first. But when I found the debit card in her purse, I just knew. It was heart-breaking.
"I loved Ruth deeply, but I could not ignore what she had done. It was abhorrent to me that she could steal from a vulnerable person and I had to report her."
Antony, a microbiologist, continued: "One night, in August 2018, I picked Ruth up from work and she told me she'd taken one of the care home residents out shopping that day.
"She said the lady, who was in a wheelchair, had 98k in her bank account. Something in the way she spoke just made my heart sink. I realised Ruth must have access to the card and pin number.
"There was no more to it, but I began worrying, even though I had no reason to. It was an instinct."
He met Ruth while studying at Liverpool University, and later moved in together in Fleetwood, Lancashire, before marrying in 2010.
Eight years later, Antony booked a family holiday to Mexico, where he noticed his wife splashing the cash.
He said: "Ruth booked lots of trips on the holiday. She was spending so much. When I questioned her, she claimed relatives had given her a thousand pounds spending money.
"I wasn't sure whether to believe her."
Later that year, Ruth was forced to take time off work due to her epilepsy, and it was soon after that Antony woke to hear her speaking in her sleep.
In her purse, which was on the floor beside her, he saw four or five £20 notes falling out, along with the woman’s debit card.
Antony said: "Ruth was mumbling about money and when I woke up, I saw the purse on the floor with a few notes fallen out. I got up to put them back, and in her purse, I saw the debit card.
"It all clicked into place, and I felt absolutely sickened. I couldn't believe it. When Ruth woke up, I confronted her, and she admitted everything. I told her to pack her bags and leave. It was heart-breaking, I loved her, and yet I knew I had no choice but to report her."
Antony went to the police and Ruth was arrested, going on to appear before Preston Crown Court in February 2021.
As Ruth admitted stealing £7,200, the court heard how she preyed on the vulnerable woman she cared for over a two-month period.
She received a suspended jail sentence of 16 months, with conditions including attending drug rehabilitation sessions.
The judge praised Antony for his ‘commendable actions’, saying it 'must have been a very difficult thing to do.'
She also told Ruth that her temptation ‘turned into greed’, adding: “You should be thoroughly ashamed of your behaviour."
Ruth then appeared before Liverpool Crown Court this month after breaching the suspended jail sentence by twice not attending drug rehabilitation sessions. She had also missed a meeting with her probation officer.
After Ruth admitted to breaching her suspended sentence, the judge agreed to giver her one last chance, imposing a six-week curfew between 7am and 7pm – warning her that if she breached orders or committed any other offence the jail term would likely be activated.
Antony said his family has ‘really suffered’ as a result of his wife's actions, saying there was ‘a revulsion’ in his village when the case became public.
“I had done the right thing and yet I was being judged alongside Ruth,” he said.
Antony added: "My anger has subsided now, and I want to help her. I feel as though the system has failed us so far."
Topics: UK News