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Meet the 65-year-old who stole €2,700 from a 90-year-old hospital patient

Victim believed thief was 'pal'

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Thief Lynda Goldsmith, who took the money from a purse and account, talks with Sunday
World’s Patrick O’Connell

Thief Lynda Goldsmith, who took the money from a purse and account, talks with Sunday World’s Patrick O’Connell

Thief Lynda Goldsmith, who took the money from a purse and account, talks with Sunday World’s Patrick O’Connell

Meet the 65-year-old thief who fleeced a 90-year-old woman out of €2,700- after stealing the elderly woman's bank card as she lay sick on a hospital bed.

Lynda Goldsmith this week told the Sunday World she wanted to say sorry for her actions - but her victim's family has already said she can stick her apology.

Emerging from her south Dublin home in Ballinteer on Thursday, Goldsmith told the Sunday World she didn't wish to go into the details of her sickening thefts.

"There's nothing I want to say," she said. "other than I'm very very sorry and I wish I'd never done it."

But the thefts are not the first time Goldsmith has landed in hot water with the authorities.

She has a previous conviction for stealing from a woman's purse while the victim was shopping in December 2015.

And she also received an adult caution for stealing €700 from a family while working as a childminder in March and April 2007.

Details of Goldsmith's three-month campaign of thefts from the 90-year-old emerged in court this week after she pleaded guilty to four charges of stealing cash and one of theft of an ATM card which were a representative sample of 31 thefts between January 16, 2019 and April 4, 2019.

Groceries

In the months before the elderly victim's hospitalisation, Goldsmith began taking money from her bank account by getting cash back while she was buying groceries for her using her debit card.

She also took money from the woman's purse which was in a drawer in the woman's bedroom.

It has never been determined how much cash Goldsmith stole from the woman's purse but she told gardai in interview that she thinks she stole "maybe about €400 or €500".

Goldsmith had been friends with the woman for 18 months and brought her to church services and a church lunch every Friday in their local parish in Taney, Dundrum, Dublin.

She also accompanied the woman to her local newsagents to buy chocolate and the Radio Times and other groceries.

On occasion the victim would be outside the shop in Goldsmith's car while Goldsmith did her shopping.

The victim's son told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in a victim impact statement that his mother no longer wears her engagement ring for fear it will be taken and often complains that her knitting and clothing have been stolen from her in the nursing home where she now lives. She sleeps with her handbag under her pillow. He also stated that Goldsmith made a €2 transaction on his mother's card in the hospital while his mother was lying there sick in bed.

He said he believed that if Goldsmith had asked his mother if she could borrow money she would have helped her out.

The man concluded his statement by saying that his mother was "a vulnerable elderly woman simply looking for a friend" and said Goldsmith's actions represented "theft of her security and trust".

The man noted that when he brought his mother shopping once a week they would always withdraw cash from her account so she could have it during the week.

He said his mother then started to think she was running out of money. "It took some time to realise she had not run out if it, it had been stolen," the man said. Detective Garda Barry Brennan told Gráinne O'Neill BL, prosecuting, that it was first noticed money had been taken from the woman's account when she was in hospital recovering from a fall and noticed her bank card was missing.

Her son cancelled the bank card when he discovered a number of unauthorised transactions.

Detective Garda Brennan said Goldsmith admitted she stole the cash as she felt her pension didn't go very far and said "I thought it would be nice to have a bit of money".

He accepted that she had written a letter of remorse and offered to repay the family the money she stole, but the family have rejected the letter and the offer.

Det Gda Brennan said he was aware Goldsmith's husband was ill at the time of her arrest and that he died from Covid-19 last May.

Fiona Pekaar BL, defending, said Goldsmith, who suffers from depression and arthritis, has an enormous amount of shame.

Judge Pauline Codd remanded Goldsmith on continuing bail to next December 14, and ordered a probation report for that date and also a confirmation of her medical history.