A care worker from Windsor who callously defrauded a vulnerable elderly man out of £1,250 after she helped herself to his own money, has been spared jail by a judge.

Nicole Bailey, of Sheepcote Road, was entrusted with looking after of a man with learning disabilities at the care home, in Theale, Berkshire, when she swindled him out of his own money, prosecutor Amanda Hamilton told the court.

The 41-year-old woman took advantage of her victim's mental and physical impairments to defraud the 64-year-old out of a large sum of his own money, after he required her assistance with larger financial transactions.

Judge Edward Burgess QC heard when Bailey's ruthless fraud came to light when she attempted to shift the blame onto her own line manager, after committing the offences over several weeks through June 2017.

The court heard that Bailey had specifically targeted the elderly man on account of his learning and hearing impairments and required care despite a degree of independence.

In mitigation, defence barrister Rhiannon Sadler cited her previous good character and her commitment to her children after a previous abusive relationship. Bailey appeared in the dock with dark hair, wore a dark coat and held a leather handbag.

Ms Dadler said: "She is of good character prior from this extremely unfortunate incident and has said how ashamed she is of her actions – it does appear to be a complete blip on her character."

On what was due to be the first day of her trial at Reading Crown Court, Bailey admitted the offence.

Judge Burgess told her: "You are now 41-years-old but I have to sentence you for a single count of fraud between June 6 to June 22, 2017 as a carer at Dimensions care home.

"Your victim was 64 years of age and the home was told he had mild learning difficulties and mild hearing problems. He needed help with larger transactions.

"You cynically exploited that vulnerability and the relationship and trust you had with him...during the period in June 2017, you helped yourself to a sum of his money. There were clear rules in place as to how that money was to be withdrawn and managed.

"To make matters worse, when the lost money became known, you tried to pass the blame to your line manager. It was only at the first day of trial that you admitted to the offence.

"I am in no doubt your culpability is high. Your victim you deliberately targeted on the basis of his vulnerability and there is a high level of victim impact.

“Other aggravating factors include attempts to conceal and blame others – worse still, in the context, your attempts to blame your line manager for your own offending.

"You are the prime carer of young children, have no previous convictions and are of previous good character. I am told you are remorseful. I must place this offending in that context.

"In my judgement, the starting point would have been 10 months in jail. You are entitled to some credit as you admitted the offence on the first day of the trial.

"In my view, nothing other than custodial sentence can be justified in this case, but the right course to take is to spare you immediate imprisonment."

Bailey was handed a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, by Judge Burgess QC. He also ordered she undertake ten days rehabilitation, 120 hours unpaid work experience and a victim surcharge.

She was also ordered to pay the entire £1,250 to Dimensions after it reimbursed the victim.

Judge Burgess QC said: "I have much hope that after you have completed this sentence successfully, this is the last time a Crown Court will see of you for the rest of your life."