A HEROIN addict who stole money from her disabled mother and left her penniless has been jailed.
Burnley Crown Court heard how Leeanne Haworth, 38, had ‘bullied’ her vulnerable 60-year-old mother for money to feed her addiction for a number of years.
Prosecutor Stephen Parker told the court that victim Moira Walch, who attended court to support her daughter, had handed over around £14,000 in the last couple of years.
But in mid-August Haworth, who has been addicted to heroin since she was 13-years-old, started taking crack cocaine and her devious behaviour escalated.
Mr Parker said Haworth, who acted as a carer for her mother, began stealing items from her Mrs Walch’s home, including her dead grandmother’s earrings, jewellery, clothes and a coffee machine. They were then sold for as little as £5.
Haworth formerly of Burnley but now of Backhold Drive¸ Halifax, also stole her mother’s bank card and drained it of her £500 life-savings.
As a result Ms Walch was forced to borrow money from friends to pay her bills.
Mr Parker said police only became involved when they were contacted by someone raising concern about Ms Walch’s welfare.
When officers visited Ms Walch’s Burnley home on September 3 she refused to press charges against her daughter.
But she told an officer who was wearing a body camera that her daughter had bullied and pestered her for years and she had given her £14,000 over a number of years.
Haworth was arrested and as she was being taken out of her mother’s house she said to police: “I won’t do it again. My mum doesn’t want to press charges.”
She also pleaded directly with her mother not to press charges, the court heard.
During police interview she said she had a £20-per-day heroin addiction but that recently she had started taking two £20 wraps of crack cocaine each day.
She accepted stealing the items from her over a two-week period mother and emptying her bank account, the court was told.
Mr Parker said: “The defendant has preyed on her mother for a significant period of time. There is a breach of trust and emotional cohesion over that period of time.”
Haworth, who has a daughter of her own, pleaded guilty to a single count of theft.
Defending Neil Howard said his client was ashamed of her behaviour and realised she had probably done irreparable damage to her relationship with her mother.
Mr Howard said: “She placed her mother in a horrendous position. Really she has put her mother in a position where there was a significant degree of emotional turmoil. She didn’t want to contact the police. Ms Haworth accepts she backed her mother into a corner.
“She has made some attempts to pay some of that money back from her benefits.”
He added: “This has been a wake-up call. This is not the life she wants to lead.”
Jailing Haworth for six months, Recorder Katherine Pierpoint said the courts would not tolerate drug addicts stealing from vulnerable people to fuel their habit.
She said: “Stealing from your mother who has over the years tried to help and support you makes this such a mean offence.
“This mean offence shows just how low people addicted to drugs are willing to go to sustain their habit.”
“It’s important that the message is sent out the courts will not tolerate people stealing from anybody, but in particularly vulnerable family members to feed their habit.”
Haworth was also ordered to pay the statutory victim surcharge.