Bail for Northern Ireland woman in elder abuse theft case

By Lenore Rice

A Northern Ireland woman has been granted bail following her appearance in court in connection with two counts of stealing cash and credit totalling £61,787 from a pensioner.

Janet Ochiltree, aged 55 from Ballyward, is alleged to have withheld some of Anne Lindsay’s pension from her over a period of five and a half years. Ms Ochiltree was described as being in a position where she was expected to “safeguard the interests” of Ms Lindsay. She remained silent in Lisburn Magistrates Court, and was granted bail of £500. She will appear at Craigavon Crown Court on 12th September 2017.

Crime involving an element of elder abuse is on the increase, and is said to be one of the least addressed areas of crime. A woman has recently been given a 9 year jail sentence for stealing nearly £30,000 from a vulnerable 102-year-old woman that she was caring for.

Older people are vulnerable to theft and fraud as they will often entrust elements of their finances to carers, neighbours, family or friends. The crimes will not always involve violence but can involve the victim being pressurised into handing over money, or decisions being made in respect of their finances without them being consulted.

If you have experienced some form of abuse and have spoken to the person involved without seeing any change in their behaviour, or if you are concerned that someone is suffering a form of elder abuse you should:

  • Call the police if you think a crime has been committed or that the person is in immediate danger
  • Contact the local council if the concern of abuse relates to a person in a care home
  • Call the UK Action on Elder Abuse helpline on 0808 8088 141