Carer who stole £31k ordered to pay back £1

Oxford Mail: Denise Kiff Denise Kiff

A MENTAL health carer who was jailed for stealing more than £31,000 from a vulnerable woman has been ordered to pay back just £1.

Denise Kiff, who worked for charity Mencap, stole money from Maureen Baker, who she was supposed to be looking after, over the course of four years.

Kiff, 41, admitted 19 counts of fraud and was jailed at Oxford Crown Court in December for 16 months.

A new hearing on Thursday was told she was now bankrupt.

Last night Mencap condemned Kiff’s “cynical exploitation” and said it was looking at ways to ensure Miss Baker does not suffer financial loss.

A spokeswoman for the organisation, Elly Button, said: “Mencap wholly condemns Ms Kiff's cynical exploitation of Miss Baker, a person with a learning disability who was in her care.

“We are pleased that she has been brought to justice following our contacting 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 Miss Baker does not suffer financial loss.”

The carer, of St Leonards Close in Banbury, was told to pay a nominal confiscation order of £1 at the court on Thursday due to her bankruptcy. The order, imposed by Judge Mary Jane Mowat, is meant to prevent defendants from benefiting from the proceeds of their crime and is determined on their available assets.

Kiff took £31,217.71 from Miss Baker, who is in her 60s but with the mental function of a five-year-old and living in sheltered accommodation.

The carer used the woman’s debit card to withdraw hundreds of pounds, which she used to buy Chinese takeaways and clothes.She also took out a £5,000 bank loan from Santander Bank in Miss Baker’s name.

The court was told in December that Kiff had worked as Miss Baker’s sole support worker for many years and had been employed by Mencap since 1998, when the charity took over the company she worked for.

Wendy Hewitt, prosecuting, told the court Kiff had been using Miss Baker’s debit cards from April 2007 until March 2011, when she ceased working with her.

Jane Brady, defending, said Kiff regretted her actions and had taken the money because she was in financial difficulties and wanted to help her recently widowed father.

Judge Ian Pringle told Kiff she had breached Miss Baker’s trust.

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