Carer who robbed residents to pay Sky bill 'had twisted mind'
A CARE assistant who stole €22,144 from vulnerable residents at a HSE-run facility, had been "like a family member" to those he scammed, a relative of one of the victims has said.
Earlier this month, care assistant Edwin Gall (51) of Grangerath, Drogheda, Co Louth, pleaded guilty to the theft of €22,144 from nine residents of Barden Lodge, Julianstown, Co Meath, between March 2016 and February 2017.
Gall had stolen from the accounts of vulnerable residents, to pay his Sky and Netflix bills and to buy clothes and shoes, Trim Circuit Court in Co Meath heard.
A male relative of one of the residents said: "These people looked at Gall like he was family. He has a dark side and betrayed those who'd looked up to him."
The man - who said his relative had money withdrawn from their account - said Gall was "greedy, with a twisted mind.
"He showed no remorse, I think he felt bulletproof.
"How could anyone in a caring job do this, when intellectual disability was so close to him?"
Gall is due to be sentenced tomorrow.
The families of the affected residents at the facility for those with intellectual disabilities, remain severely impacted by the crime.
The male relative, who we're not identifying due to his relative's vulnerable condition, broke down in tears.
"We, as a family, had accepted this as our relative's forever home in great confidence. This was something we would never have expected. Not only are the families and victims hurt but so are the other staff," he said.
"We take nothing away from the people who make a great difference in the unit.
"Those staff are helping change people's lives. And to most, it's not just a job."
The man said he had stumbled across a news story in the Irish Independent in March 2017, detailing the allegations and "felt sick to my stomach".
"We contacted the HSE, as we knew it was out of the control of the staff at the unit, but no one was able to update us," he said.
"The HSE finally confirmed our family member was a victim and we were told not to worry, that they would be reimbursed.
"We waited three years in total to find out the full facts."
The court heard the care facility is home to 13 adult residents with intellectual disabilities. Purchases or withdrawals, made on behalf of residents by staff had to be logged.
But Gall had, the court heard, been able to steal the cash from residents' accounts by entering a lesser amount on an expenses sheet.
Judge Martina Baxter remanded Gall in custody for sentencing A HSE spokeswoman said as the "matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate for the HSE to comment at this time".
She added that the HSE "are continuing to provide support to residents and their families and we would encourage them to contact us directly".