A health assistant working in a COVID department has been found guilty of using a deceased patient’s bank card to purchase crisps, soda and candy from a hospital vending machine.
Ayesha Basharat, 23, took the card of an 83-year-old woman who recently died at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham.
A doctor recorded his time of death at 1:56 p.m. on January 24, but just 17 minutes later Basharat made six purchases of £ 1 using the vending machine’s contactless payment system.
She then made another £ 1 purchase later that evening, then tried again twice when she returned to work four days later – but the card had been canceled by the family by then.
Basharat, of Farm Road, Birmingham, was arrested during her shift on January 28 in Ward 1 and still had the patient’s card with her.
She first told the police that she found the card on the ground and that she “mistook” it for her own card when it came to paying for snacks.
Basharat appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, where the jury was told the cards were different suits and she had ignored the rules regarding lost patient property.
She admitted the theft and misrepresentation fraud and was sentenced to two concurrent five-month prison terms, suspended for 18 months.
DC Investigating Officer Andrew Snowdon, West Midlands Police CID, said: “It was a heinous and painful breach of trust for the victim’s family.
“They had to come to terms with the death of a loved one from COVID when they found the missing bank card – then of course the realization that the card had been taken by someone who should have looked after her.
“Our Hospital Liaison Officer worked closely with the Heartlands security team to gather evidence in this case. I would like to thank them and the victim’s family for their support during the investigation.
“I wish the family all the best for the future and with this conviction, I hope they can come out of this upsetting episode. “