Fictitious patient checked in at Cork hospital to catch member of staff stealing from patients

Judge Olann Kelleher noted that management at the hospital in Cork had to go to great lengths to find out who had been stealing money from patients
Fictitious patient checked in at Cork hospital to catch member of staff stealing from patients

Judge Kelleher noted that one of the patients who had cash stolen from his room when he was at the Bon Secours was 90 years old.

A fictitious patient was checked into a room at the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork with cash in his wallet and he was then transferred to intensive care in an effort to catch the member of staff who had been stealing from patients.

Judge Olann Kelleher noted that management at the hospital in Cork had to go to great lengths to find out who had been stealing money from patients.

Judge Kelleher noted that one of the patients who had cash stolen from his room when he was at the Bon Secours was 90 years old.

40-year-old Claire Murphy of 33 Hillcrest, Kildorrery, County Cork, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft of cash from the rooms of patients at the hospital. Sums of €50, €50, €200 and €700 were stolen.

Defence solicitor, Ciarán O’Keeffe, said, “She has brought €1,000 to court covering the full amount of the money taken. She put her hands up straightaway. They released her from her job. She had been working 20 years in the Bon Secours.” 

Mr O’Keeffe said there was an effort made to pay the money back at an early stage but that this was not possible because the prosecution had been initiated.

The solicitor said that the defendant and her husband had purchased a house and were both working hard to pay the mortgage on it.

Judge Kelleher said, “It is a very serious matter taking money from patients in the course of her employment. Great lengths had to be taken by the Bon Secours to find out who it was.” 

Sentencing was adjourned until June 16 to allow time for preparation of a probation report.

Sergeant Pat Lyons gave an outline of the background to the thefts: “On February 15, 2021, Detective Garda James Bugler was called to the Bons Secours Hospital to take a report of a theft of €200 cash which had been taken from a suitcase in a patient’s room.

“On March 4, he was called back again to take a report of a further theft, over €700 from the trousers pocket of a 90-year-old patient.

“There was no CCTV cameras covering the entrances to these two rooms.

“The facilities manager suspected that it was a member of staff and he booked a room in the hospital using a fictitious name and installed a covert camera in the room, as well as €150 spread across different locations in the room.

“He informed some staff members that this patient had been transferred to ICU.

“On March 16, Claire Murphy - a health care assistant in the hospital - was captured on the covert camera entering the room on two occasions during her shift and removing €100 of the €150 from the room, which she put into her scrubs pocket.

“On March 30, Det. Garda Gary Duggan met Claire Murphy and invited her to make a voluntary cautioned statement. She made full admissions to the four thefts. She was apologetic and cited money problems as the reason for her actions.”

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