Husband goes to police after wife confesses to crime while sleeping

A care worker took thousands of pounds from a vulnerable woman after getting hold of her bank card

Holly Bancroft
Friday 21 January 2022 12:27
Mencap on care home abuse

A care worker who stole thousands from a vulnerable wheelchair-user was caught when her husband heard her talking about it in her sleep.

Ruth Fort stole £7,220 from the woman and spent it on a family holiday to Mexico.

Her husband, Anthony, began to get suspicious when his wife started spending large amounts of money. He finally went to the police when he heard his wife talking in her sleep and saw a debit card, which belonged to the care home resident, in her purse.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Mr Fort said: “It was more of an instinct really, at first. But when I found the debit card in her purse, I just knew. It was heart-breaking.

“I loved Ruth deeply, but I could not ignore what she had done. It was abhorrent to me that she could steal from a vulnerable person and I had to report her.”

In February last year, she was given a suspended prison sentence of 16 months on the condition that she attended drug rehabilitation sessions.

At the time the judge praised Mr Fort for his “commendable” actions and said: “It must have been a very difficult thing to do.”

The judge spoke of the “revulsion the public feels for individuals in positions of authority and responsibility who take advantage of vulnerable members of our community for financial gain.”

She told Fort: “The temptation here turned into greed, and you should be thoroughly ashamed of your behaviour”.

Fort appeared before Liverpool Crown Court this month after she breached her sentence by twice not attending her drug rehabilitation sessions, and for missing a meeting with her probation officer.

The judge agreed to give her one last chance and imposed a six-week curfew on her.

Mr Fort, 61, met his wife when he was studying at Liverpool university and they both shared a love of music.

“We went to gigs and did a lot of walking,” he said. “We were really happy together”.

They moved in together and got married on New Year’s Eve 2010. Mr Fort added: “One night, in August 2018, I picked Ruth up from work and she told me she’d taken one of the care home residents out shopping that day.

“She said the lady, who was in a wheelchair, had £98,000 in her bank account. Something in the way she spoke just made my heart sink. I realised Ruth must have access to the card and pin number.

“There was no more to it, but I began worrying, even though I had no reason to. It was an instinct.”

Later that year, during a family holiday to Mexico, his wife began spending lots of money on trips and excursions while they were there.

Her aunt also expressed concerns when she came to stay and saw her niece withdrawing large amounts of money from a cash machine.

Then in December 2018, Mr Fort was woken by his wife talking in her sleep.

“Ruth was mumbling about money,” he said, “and when I woke up, I saw the purse on the floor with a few notes fallen out.”

He saw the vulnerable woman’s debit card in the purse and “it all clicked into place.”

Lawyer John Keane, who defended Fort in court, said she was a vulnerable member of society and that her life had broken down as a result of the case.

He told the court that there were drug users who call at her home and ring her, and that she has a 15-year-old daughter who depends on her.

At this month’s hearing, Judge Brian Cummings said he would give Fort one last chance.

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