Neighbour exploited elderly woman for pokies

By Samantha McPherson

Photo / File / Christine Cornege
Photo / File / Christine Cornege

A woman who "ruthlessly exploited" her elderly neighbour by nearly draining her bank account to play pokie machines says she is happy with her sentence.

Emma Lee Lamb, 44, a beneficiary from New Brighton in Christchurch, was sentenced yesterday to 18 months' intensive supervision, 300 hours' community work and ordered to pay reparation to ANZ of $40 a week.

She had pleaded guilty in October 13 charges relating to an Eftpos card she took from her 82-year-old neighbour's purse while she was helping put her groceries away.

Christchurch District Court was told she withdrew $7370 in lots of up to $900 over three days in August after finding out the PIN. She unsuccessfully tried to get another $4960 in 11 transactions.

ANZ paid the money back to the elderly woman, but now Lamb will have to pay the bank reparation.

After being sentenced Lamb told The Star: "I am happy with what I got. I am not going to say anything more. I've had enough of this bulls*** and I'm sick of having this on my back."

Lamb was caught when ANZ detected major anomalies in the frequency and amounts being withdrawn on the card.

Judge Raoul Neave said Lamb's offending was serious and she had "ruthlessly exploited the vulnerability of the complainant and used her Eftpos card for her benefit".

"You used it on a number of occasions at a variety of locations. You said you found it in your car and said the victim must have dropped it and you didn't know the PIN number. It was a case of cynical dishonesty and a breach of trust. It has shattered the victim's trust in the goodness of the world and she found it very distressing," Judge Neave said.

In October last year, Lamb told The Star she had spent the money playing the pokie machines.

Asked if she regretted what she had done or felt sorry for her elderly victim, Lamb said: "It's got nothing to do with you. I've had a gutsful."

The victim was not available for comment yesterday.

In October she told The Star: "She's (Lamb) been living next door to me for 10 years and she's always helped me out around the house. We had quite a good friendship but not anymore.

"For the last eight years we would regularly go out shopping and have lunch at a restaurant. I can't even talk to her. I can't even look at her. I never thought she would've done anything like this to me," she said.

- Christchurch Star

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