A carer who stole £25,000 from an elderly resident to fund his gambling habit before threatening to set himself on fire at a police station has been jailed.
Kieran Dunphy, 29, stole inheritance money from a pensioner he was looking after at a care home in Warwick.
He took the woman's bank card while she was bedbound and used it to withdraw cash to pay for his gambling problem over nine months.
Bosses suspended Dunphy when they found out the resident's card had been used at various cash points across the town.
A court heard he later turned up at a police station after dousing himself in flammable liquid and confessed, "I've done something terrible".
Dunphy, of Leamington Spa, pleaded guilty to theft and was jailed for 16 months at Warwick Crown Court on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that Dunphy worked at the care home where his victim and her father were both residents, and he was one of her carers.
He said: “A point came when there was a problem with her bank account, when a payment that was due could not be made due to a lack of funds.”
Mr Windridge said that residents’ bank cards were kept in an office and staff members sometimes had to assist residents with making transactions.
When staff began to check where the money had gone, they found that a large number of withdrawals had been made from several regular locations.
They included a McColls convenience store almost opposite the care home, a Tesco store in Warwick and a petrol station in Hinckley.
Mr Windridge added: “When it was made clear to the defendant that he was being suspended, he took that fairly badly and presented himself at Leamington police station, having covered himself in a flammable liquid.
“He said he was going to set himself on fire, saying: ‘I have done something terrible. I’ve robbed someone and stolen from them.’”
Dunphy was detained under the Mental Health Act and taken to a psychiatric unit, but was soon discharged.
When he was interviewed Dunphy, who had no previous convictions, made a full admission, and explained that he had a gambling addiction.
Sentencing, Recorder Eugene Egan told him: “It is obvious the mental anguish you suffered on these offences coming to light has caused you to change your ways significantly and to change your life.
“I have to consider whether I can suspend the sentence, but I am afraid I cannot do so, as adequate punishment can only be applied here by immediate custody.
“You repeatedly took money from this woman. You knew it was wrong, but you went on and on and on.”