A CARER who scammed vulnerable and elderly patients - one aged 96 - to fund his cocaine addiction has been jailed.

Crook Paul Tierney fleeced elderly clients by taking money from their bank accounts.

The 34-year-old of John Jones Close, Abingdon made about £11,000 in the scam between December last year and April this year.

Tierney had already admitted four counts of fraud by abuse of position before his sentencing at Oxford Crown Court today.

Outlining the case prosecutor Julian Lynch said that Tierney worked as a carer at the time of the offences.

After developing an addiction to class A drugs he then embarked on a scam involving three elderly people and later his ex-partner who ran a care company.

In each case he used his target's bank account to withdraw cash for himself, and pocketed £5,981.

Among his victims was a 96-year-old blind woman and an 89-year-old man who suffered with dementia.

That victim's son read out a victim personal statement at court in which he described the impact the fraud had had on his father.

He said: "He now has issues with trust. He understands what has happened but has struggled to come to terms with it.

"He has a trusting nature but it has really knocked him back emotionally.

"He is not the man that he was and unfortunately he has very much lost that trusting attitude that he always had throughout his life."

Prosecutors went on to say that just days after Tierney was first interviewed about one of the offences he admitted what he had done to police and 'expressed remorse.'

Despite that protestation he continued his offending and this time he targeted the care firm manager and his ex-partner.

He fleeced her and took about £5,800 from the care home before he was again interviewed and ultimately admitted the offences.

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In mitigation his defence barrister Lucy Ffrench said that her client - who has served in the Armed Forces and in Iraq - had carried out the frauds to fund his drug addiction.

She added that he was 'disgusted' and 'ashamed' at what he had done.

Sentencing, Judge Ian Pringle QC said he would be 'failing in his duty' to protect the public were he not to order a sentence of immediate custody.

As the judge jailed him for a total of 12 months Tierney buried his head in his hands and burst into tears.

He was also ordered to pay compensation of £1,200 and a statutory victim surcharge.