‘Despicable’ ex-care home manager faces second prison term

Published: 07 November 2018

A woman previously sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for stealing a huge sum of money from a vulnerable Slough resident faces a second stint behind bars.

Mavis Mary Ngwerume, the ex-manager of Divine Care Solutions in Reading, a residential care home for adults with severe learning disabilities, made numerous withdrawals from a resident’s bank account between June 2009 and April 2015.

Ms Ngwerume dishonestly and for the benefit of herself and others, withdrew sums totalling £16,551 leading to her immediate imprisonment on 15 February this year.

Ms Ngwerume was released from custody on 28 September having served approximately seven months of her sentence.

A confiscation hearing took place at Reading Crown Court on 25 October.

Her honour Recorder Sarah Campbell, who was also the original trial judge, issued a confiscation order against Ms Ngwerume for £49,849.97 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Of this amount, £18,430.61 will be paid directly to the vulnerable victim in compensation for his loss.

Ms Ngwerume has until 25 January 2019 to pay the full amount or faces a further eight months in prison.

Her honour Recorder S Campbell first sentenced Ms Ngwerume on February 15, and referred to her crime as ‘despicable’. In sentencing, the judge referred to Ngwerume offering no guilty plea, showing no remorse and attempting to blame both the victim and colleagues during her evidence.

Greed had led to Ngwerume taking small amounts initially in 2009, but over the years this had increased considerably as she became confident that no-one would notice. She had also been sending money abroad to her children, some of which had probably been taken from him.

The vulnerable resident had been placed at Divine Care Solutions by Slough Borough Council. An investigation was sparked after a social worker reviewing his care package noticed unusually high levels of spending.

Cllr Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “Nothing saddens me more than seeing good people being taken advantage of.

“Ms Ngwerume held a position of trust and chose to shamelessly exploit the financial interests of a resident she was charged with safeguarding.

“I was very pleased to hear of the judge’s ruling and look forward to seeing the victim reimbursed in full.”