Sidmouth carer stole valuable antiques from dying patient
01:44 PM March 16, 2022
4:29 PM March 16, 2022
A carer who stole two rare and valuable Meissen figurines from a dying patient in Sidmouth has been described as ‘excruciating’ and ‘extremely dishonest’ by a judge.
Rebecca Morley took the Commedia Dell’Arte numbers while working at the home of 88-year-old retired businessman David Griffin days before his death in December 2020.
The Pierrot and Tartaglia figurines were worth up to £12,000 each and were part of a set of seven which were made in 1744 and which Mr Griffin planned to bequeath to the National Trust.
She kept them for eight months before taking them to Bonhams auctioneers in Exeter to have them appraised. She claimed to have inherited them from her grandmother.
The auction house recognized them as they had appraised them for Mr Griffin before his death and alerted the police, who arrested Morley.
She told officers she found them in a garbage bag and her husband forced her to sell them, but her claims were dismissed as ‘nonsense’ by City Court Judge David Evans. Exeter Crown.
Morley, 39, of Lock Close, Sidmouth, admitted the theft and was jailed for ten months, suspended for two years, ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid community work, curfewed for six weeks and paid £1,000 of charges.
The judge told him, “Your behavior was absolutely atrocious. You were hoping to get away with it. It was extremely dishonest. I have to convict you of a felony theft.
“It was robbing someone shortly before they died and trying to sell the items when you thought enough time had passed. You were looking to make thousands of pounds for yourself and your family.
“You were trusted to enter the home of a vulnerable widower and provide care services, but you looked around and stole the valuables.”
The judge said he was only suspending the sentence because Morley’s children would suffer if she went to jail.
Mr Michael Brown, defending, said Morley and her husband were short of money at the time because his work as a tiler had dried up during the Covid lockdowns.
He said she now works in a pastry shop and is truly remorseful for what she did.