Ely Care Worker Ran Up Phone Bill On Client's Phone After Brother Is Murdered

PUBLISHED: 11:57 20 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:58 04 May 2010

A LIVE-in care worker whose brother was murdered during the election in Zimbabwe fraudulently racked up bills of more than £600 when she used her client s phone to get news of her family back home. Jane Pandehuni – now an asylum seeker - was caring for br

A LIVE-in care worker whose brother was murdered during the election in Zimbabwe fraudulently racked up bills of more than £600 when she used her client's phone to get news of her family back home.

Jane Pandehuni - now an asylum seeker - was caring for brain injured Margaret Hardy in Ely at the time she made the international calls and failed to pay for them, a court heard.

Mrs Hardy needed a live-in carer after suffering a massive brain injury in an accident 10 years ago, and her affairs were managed by a firm of solicitors.

When the phone calls were discovered, Pandehuni repaid £150 of the bill before being interviewed by police.

"She had problems at home, her brother has since died," said prosecutor Delia Matthews. "She phoned her family to discuss his health, but knew she should not have used her client's phone."

Pandehuni, 48, who was working for Careforce Co UK at the time of the offence, admitted dishonestly abusing her position as a care worker by causing Mrs Hardy financial loss, a charge brought under the Fraud Act.

Mitigating, Lowri Roberts said: "She did not intend to be dishonest; she had intended to pay back the money. But things got on top of her; she was in a difficult position.

"She had a loving relationship with Margaret and did not intend to commit fraud. She knew she was not allowed to make telephone calls. She should have used a phone card that paid for the calls.

"She was desperate to find out what was happening to her family in Zimbabwe. Her family support the opposition. During the election her brother was badly beaten, and passed away in April."

Ordering Pandehuni to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £459 compensation, and £70 costs, presiding magistrate Mary Rone said: "This was a very serious case of fraud, to a very vulnerable victim.


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