A 90-YEAR-OLD lady’s ‘world has got smaller’ after she was defrauded of more than £2,000 by a cleaner who she counted as a friend.

Muriel Anne ‘Sally’ Edmonds, from Carterton, fell victim to Tracy Crouch, a client of three-and-a-half years, who made payments into her PayPal account after gaining access to Mrs Edmonds’ bank details.

Crouch, also from Carterton, was sentenced to 30 weeks and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £140 after pleading guilty to one count of fraud at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday.

The sentencing brings to an end a traumatic year for Mrs Edmonds, with daughter Anita Weir, 53, revealing the ordeal took its toll.

She said: “My mum’s had a year of worrying and blaming herself.

“Her world has got smaller due to this woman’s actions.

“She’s got to 90 without losing so much as a car key but now thinks the world isn’t the nice, trusting place she thought it was.”

Between July 16 and August 10 last year, Crouch transferred £2,118 from Mrs Edmonds’ account into her own – some of which funded a holiday in Malta.

The 55-year-old runs her own business, Tracy’s Domestic Cleaning Service, and visited the victim’s house so often she had her own key.

She is well-known in the town and until March was district commissioner of Brize Norton and Carterton Girlguiding.

Crouch built up a level of trust with Mrs Edmonds and the victim’s daughter admitted she was worried about other elderly clients the cleaner may have had.

Mrs Weir said: “My mum couldn’t get around the fact that someone who helps with the Brownies could steal from a friend.

“She always benefited from Tracy, not just for the cleaning but the company too.

“She thought this was one of her network of people she could trust.

“Tracy’s birthday was in my mum’s diary and she always bought her a card.”

Crouch’s actions have had an impact on Mrs Edmonds psychologically as well as financially.

The widow lives alone but continued to lead an active social life until last August, when she first became aware of suspicious activity relating to her bank account.

Since then, Mrs Edmonds has changed her phone number and the locks on her house.

Mrs Weir revealed her mother often felt ‘uncomfortable and anxious’ and this was completely out of character.

She said: “In her whole life she’s been to hospital five times and four of them were to have children.

“She’s quite an independent lady and goes to the shops and cafe by herself but now she’s scared.”