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A rest home worker who stole more than $3500 from a delusional elderly resident to fuel her gambling addiction has been sentenced to community work.
Nadine Leigh Kinnersley, 42, from Wainuiomata, Wellington, convinced her 80-year-old victim to make out a cheque intended for the rest home in her name.
The man, who suffered from chronic delusional disorder and dementia, often tried to gift money to rest home workers - gifts staff were banned from accepting under a signed agreement.
Kinnersley was not charged for accepting six such gifts, but was charged with using a document for her own gain after she asked him to make out a cheque for $3772.70 in her name.
Her lawyer said she had taken the money to fuel a gambling addiction she was seeking help for.
She sought a discharge without conviction, noting it would be difficult for her to find work at another rest home with a conviction.
Kinnersley had entered a guilty plea, attended restorative justice with her victim and repaid about a quarter of the money to the rest home, which had already reimbursed the resident.
Judge Stephen Harrop told Kinnersley she had betrayed her victim's trust, noting his delusional disorder and the fact she had known him for 11 of the 16 years she had worked at the rest home.
"He was particularly vulnerable and you knew he was."
Judge Harrop declined a discharge without conviction and sentenced Kinnersley to 40 hours of community work. He also ordered her to repay the rest of the money owed to the rest home.