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Betrayal Carer cleaned out nursing home resident’s bank account during Covid-19 lockdown

Terry - 'a lovely, quiet and trusting old man' who sadly passed away in January of this year - had more than €3,000 pilfered by Hennessy.

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Lorraine Hennessy, Clonlara, Co. Clare, who pleaded guilty to 22 theft charges

Lorraine Hennessy, Clonlara, Co. Clare, who pleaded guilty to 22 theft charges

Lorraine Hennessy, Clonlara, Co. Clare, who pleaded guilty to 22 theft charges

MEET the thieving 'care worker' who cleaned out an 83-year-old nursing home resident's bank account while visitors were banned due to Covid.

The Sunday World is today publishing the first pictures of disgraced carer Lorraine Hennessy (40) and her pensioner victim Terrance 'Terry' Stevenson.

Terry - "a lovely, quiet and trusting old man" who sadly passed away in January of this year - had more than €3,000 pilfered by Hennessy.

The thefts occurred after he entrusted her with his bank card so she could pick up his messages.

In his final months of life and knowing he was dying, Terry sought to ensure Hennessy would pay for her crimes by making a formal statement to gardai.

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Terry Stevenson of Killaloe putting at The East Clare Golf Club in Bodyke in June 2011.

Terry Stevenson of Killaloe putting at The East Clare Golf Club in Bodyke in June 2011.

Terry Stevenson of Killaloe putting at The East Clare Golf Club in Bodyke in June 2011.

His dying declaration resulted in the 40-year-old being charged and appearing in court this week, more than nine months after his death.

Appearing at Killaloe District Court on Tuesday, Hennessy pleaded guilty to 22 charges of theft, during which a total of €3,011 was taken from Terry, between August 20 and October 5 last year.

Approached by the Sunday World on Wednesday and asked whether she would speak about the case, Hennessy responded: "No, no."

Asked whether she was sorry for what she did to Terry she responded: "Yeah, no, you're grand," before going back inside her home in the village of Clonlara, Co Clare and closing the door.

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Lorraine Hennessy, Clonlara, Co. Clare, who pleaded guilty to 22 theft charges concerning €3,011 from 83 year old care home resident Terrance Stevenson.

Lorraine Hennessy, Clonlara, Co. Clare, who pleaded guilty to 22 theft charges concerning €3,011 from 83 year old care home resident Terrance Stevenson.

Lorraine Hennessy, Clonlara, Co. Clare, who pleaded guilty to 22 theft charges concerning €3,011 from 83 year old care home resident Terrance Stevenson.

In evidence heard before Killaloe District Court, Detective Garda John Jenks stated that Terry knew he was dying when he made a statement to gardai concerning the thefts.

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The pensioner passed away on January 25 of this year.

Det Jenks stated that the 22 thefts from Terry were carried out through a VISA debit card that he had given to Ms Hennessy to get his messages.

Det Jenks said the money was spent by Hennessy on insurance payments, online motor tax, utility bills and payments to a high interest loan company, along with a contribution to a daughter's school.

The thefts ranged in value from €20 to €450 and other amounts concerned include €122, €157, €123, €50, €122, €350, €247 and €150.

The detective described Terry as a single man who had moved to Killaloe in east Clare from the UK around 30 years ago.

He said the deceased pensioner has no family in Ireland but has a brother and niece in the UK.

Terry, the court heard, moved into the nursing home in December 2018.

Det Jenks said he did so as wasn't able to look after himself any more and wanted to spend his last few years in comfort.

The court was told Terry's nursing home bill remains unpaid due to the thefts.

Det Jenks said that when gardai went to Hennessy's home on February 19 this year, she immediately accepted responsibility for the thefts. He continued that Hennessy - who was employed as a care worker at the home from April 2020 to November 2020 - said that she was under pressure for money.

He also said that Hennessy's late partner took his own life in 2016 and his body was found by a then 17-year-old daughter in a garden shed.

Det Jenks said this tragedy greatly impacted the defendant.

Solicitor for Hennessy, Daragh Hassett, described the matter as "a sad case all around".

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Lorraine Hennessy would not speak to  our reporter Patrick O'Connell

Lorraine Hennessy would not speak to our reporter Patrick O'Connell

Lorraine Hennessy would not speak to our reporter Patrick O'Connell

He said Terry had trusted Hennessy "and she abused that trust".

He described his client as "utterly ashamed."

He stated that "temptation raised its head" when Hennessy was given Mr Stevenson's bank card.

He said Hennessy was under "massive pressure" money wise, adding she didn't spend any of the money on fancy goods.

Mr Hassett said it is a serious case, adding that Hennessy wants to pay all the money back.

He said she has already started to save up to pay back the money.

The court heard Hennessy has no previous convictions.

Neighbours at the Crossroads in Killaloe, where Terry lived until he entered nursing home care, this week spoke of their horror that he had been 'victimised' in such a manner in the final months of his life.

"It's utterly shocking," one neighbour told the Sunday World.

"Terry was such a lovely, quiet, unassuming old man. He was a gentleman … he never interfered with anyone or done any harm in as long as he lived here.

"He liked a game of golf but other than that kept himself to himself.

"How anyone could have done something like this to him? … I just don't know."

Judge Mary Larkin adjourned the case against Hennessy to April to give her time to repay the stolen money.

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