Cleaner stole £11k for drugs

PUBLISHED: 16:30 14 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:45 01 June 2010

FRAIL Wisbech pensioner John Toorchen had £11,000 of his savings stolen by a woman who did his cleaning and gardening. Sandra Raper needed money to support the £300 or £400-a-day drug habit she and her former partner had cultivated — so she took two chequ

FRAIL Wisbech pensioner John Toorchen had £11,000 of his savings stolen by a woman who did his cleaning and gardening.

Sandra Raper needed money to support the £300 or £400-a-day drug habit she and her former partner had cultivated - so she took two cheques from Mr Toorchen's cheque book.

She forged the 82-year-old's signature, stealing £5,000 on January 18 and another £6,000 on February 14, Fenland magistrates heard on Tuesday.

Raper, 26, of Kings Road, East Dereham, admitted two charges of theft and two charges of forgery, and was sent to Cambridge Crown Court for sentencing.

Prosecuting, Sara Walker said Mr Toorchen was in poor health, he had suffered a stroke and lived alone. He reported the missing cheques to the police, and when arrested Raper admitted writing the cheques in her name, and forging Mr Toorchen's signature.

She had come across the cheque book when cleaning his house. She needed money for drugs and to pay drug debts.

Mitigating, Andrew Spence said Raper had worked for Mr Toorchen in the early part of 2005 for about four months, and returned to his employ at the end of last year.

She was a drug user, and things spiralled out of control when she was introduced to crack cocaine.

"She wants to change her life, she is deeply ashamed, and went to the victim to confess," he said. "It was done in desperation, and she has shown genuine remorse.

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