A PENSIONER who stole more than £12,000 from a dementia patient she had befriended is now behind bars.

Pamela Cooper, of Chantler Avenue, Latchford, showed no emotion and lacked any remorse as she was led away to the cells for the first time after she was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Warrington Crown Court on Friday.

The 71-year-old, who has no previous convictions, was found guilty by a jury of one count of theft and one count of attempted theft.

The court heard how Cooper had stolen £12,397 from September 2012 to March 2013 from an account belonging to 94-year-old Joseph Laycock.

The money has since been recovered and is expected to be returned to the victim.

Cooper claimed the money were given to her as gifts and as payment for the jobs she carried out for Mr Laycock but the jury did not believe her during the trial earlier this year.

Defending Sarah Griffin urged Judge John Bromley-Davenport to suspend the sentence amid concerns that she would be unable to cope in prison.

She said: “She is a lady of previous good character who often goes above and beyond what is expected of her.”

Age coupled with her bad health for which she is on medication for would also make a jail term ‘particularly difficult’ for Cooper, added Ms Griffin.

But sentencing Judge Bromley-Davenport disagreed that the sentence could be suspended as Cooper had been ‘systematically stealing’ from the victim.

He said: “You have been found guilty by a jury - by my own account - on extremely strong evidence.

“You had befriended the Laycocks and it must be said you were a good friend to them for many years.

"You looked after them, you helped them. They trusted you as you trusted them but you abused their trust.

“You attempted to obtain £20,000 which would have nearly emptied what was left in his bank account.

“This is a very serious offence. You showed no remorse and still deny your guilt.”

Cooper was ordered to serve at least half of her 12 month sentence.