A ‘DESPICABLE’ carer who used her blind 77-year-old client’s bank card to spend almost £10,000 on shopping, cash withdrawals and petrol has avoided a spell behind bars.

Katrina Lockwood, 38, agreed to clean the pensioner’s flat, carry out her shopping and withdraw cash for her weekly in exchange for a £12 per hour wage.

But during 2017 and 2018, she scammed her vulnerable client, who also suffered with diabetes, using her bank card to make cash withdrawals, splash out on shopping for herself and pay for her petrol.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Lockwood stole £6,980 of her elderly victim’s savings through cashpoint withdrawals.

She splashed out another £2,689 on shopping for herself and spent a further £108 on petrol.

The court heard the victim became suspicious of Lockwood in early 2018, contacting the police in February.

But no action was taken until months later when a social worker visited the victim and reported her own suspicions to the police.

The police examined bank statements before tracing Lockwood.

Mum-of-two Lockwood had initially denied one charge of theft, but owned up to her crime on the first day of her trial in May.

After hearing of Lockwood’s guilty plea, the victim said: “Since I found out Katrina has gone guilty in some ways I feel sorry for her, because of the kids. In other ways, I think she’s a cow.

"I deplore what she has done. I have always earned my own money, and this is part of my savings.”

Sasha Bailey, mitigating, said Lockwood’s actions were “deplorable and despicable”.

“During that period of time she was going through difficulties with her own mental health and importantly the health of her father,” she said.

Judge Christopher Morgan sentenced Lockwood, of Magpie Chase, Stanway, to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 21 months.

She must complete a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement and pay £1,000 in compensation.