A woman who stole her elderly friend’s bank card while visiting the woman in hospital will be sentenced later for stealing over €2,700 from the victim over three months.
In the months before the 90-year-old victim’s hospitalisation, Lynda Goldsmith (65) began taking money from her bank account by getting cash back while she was buying groceries for her using her debit card.
She also took money from the woman’s purse which was in a drawer in the woman’s bedroom. It has never been determined how much cash Goldsmith stole from the woman’s purse but she told gardaí in interview that she thinks she stole “maybe about €400 or €500”.
Goldsmith had been friends with the woman for 18 months and brought her to church services and a church lunch every Friday in their local parish in Taney, Dundrum, Dublin. She also accompanied the woman to her local newsagents to buy chocolate and the Radio Times and other groceries.
On occasion the victim would be outside the shop in Goldsmith’s car while Goldsmith did the shopping for her.
The victim’s son told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in a victim impact statement that his mother no longer wears her engagement ring for fear it will be taken and often complains that her knitting and clothing have been stolen from her in the nursing home where she now lives. She sleeps with her handbag under her pillow.
He also stated that Goldsmith made a €2 transaction on his mother’s card in the hospital while his mother was lying there sick in bed.
The man concluded his statement by saying that his mother was “a vulnerable elderly woman simply looking for a friend” and said Goldsmith’s actions represented “theft of her security and trust”.
Detective Garda Barry Brennan told Gráinne O’Neill BL, prosecuting, that it was first noticed that money had been taken from the woman’s account when she was in hospital recovering from a fall and noticed that her bank card was missing.
Her son ultimately cancelled the bank card when he discovered a number unauthorised transactions in her bank account.
Det Gda Brennan said Goldsmith admitted in garda interview that she stole the cash because she felt her pension didn’t go very far and said “I thought it would be nice to have a bit of money”.
Goldsmith of Broadford Park, Ballinteer, Dublin 16 pleaded guilty to four charges of stealing cash and one of theft of an ATM card which were a representative sample of 31 thefts between January 16, 2019 and April 4, 2019.
The court heard that after she stole the woman’s card from her in hospital, Goldsmith accepted €70 from the woman’s son, which she claimed the woman owed her in petrol money for taking her to church services.
Goldsmith has a previous conviction for stealing from a woman’s purse while the victim was shopping in December 2015. She also received an adult caution for stealing €700 from a family while was working as a childminder in March and April 2007.
Judge Pauline Codd acknowledge the victim’s family’s feelings of outrage as expressed in the victim impact statement and described them as “understandable”.
She remanded Goldsmith on continuing bail to next December 14, next and ordered a probation report for that date and confirmation of her medical history.