Mum forced ‘Cinderella’ life on daughter as she blew her savings on secret lover
A nurse who condemned her foster daughter to live a “Cinderella” lifestyle while blowing the child’s savings on a secret lover and luxuries for herself has been jailed.
Married Carol Toft, 57, treated herself to new shoes, handbags, hair appointments and meals out for herself and her boyfriend.
Meanwhile, Chloe Creevy, 18, was made to take packed lunches to college where she was bullied for wearing “dirty and cheap” clothes.
Over a three-year period Toft, from Warrington, Cheshire, used Miss Creevy’s bank card to steal up to £7,500 which had been accumulated through a bursary and welfare entitlements linked to the teenager’s special needs.
Her lover Michael Jebb, who was wrongly told by Toff that her husband Neil had passed away, was treated to meals in various restaurants – paid for with the teenager’s bank card.
Toft even used her foster daughter’s cash to get her hair done, whilst the victim sat in her car outside the salon.
The thefts emerged when Miss Creevy, who is treated as a “vulnerable adult”, was assigned new carers in 2019 and they found suspicious transactions on her bank account.
In a statement to police Miss Creevy, now 24, said: “I loved and trusted Carol and called her ‘mum’ but now I feel betrayed. She never allowed me to have my own money and she would never allow me to have my bank card.
“I had to take packed lunches to college… my clothes were dirty and cheap. In the end I was given shoes and clothing by another foster child.
“Carol never allowed me to speak to a doctor or a social worker on my own as she told me what to say. She made me and others believe that my disability was worse than it is.”
She added: “I am so angry and upset. “The first thing I saw was the payment to the hairdresser. I was never allowed to have my hair done.
“I felt so betrayed and sad. I trusted her. I believed that she had my best interests at heart.
“I never thought that she would do something like this. I now find it difficult to trust people. Due to what I am going through I am self-harming and I have been seeing a psychiatrist to make myself better. I thought she loved me.
“I feel stupid, worthless and heart-broken by what has happened. I hope that she will be punished as a result and I also hope that she will be prevented from hurting other people like myself.”
At Chester Crown Court, Toft admitted fraud by false representation and was jailed for 12 months.
She and her husband are now in the process of getting a divorce.
The court heard the couple became foster parents to Chloe in 2012 having been approved as carers by the National Fostering Agency (NFA) in 2008.
The NFA would deduct £5 per week from money given for each child to put towards a savings fund the child receives when they turn 18 so they can “achieve economic wellbeing and work towards a successful adult life”.
That lump sum was given to Chloe when she turned 18, the prosecutor said, after which she also received various benefits including DLA (which became PIP), Universal Credit, allowance for a mobility car, and also a bursary from her college.
Toft had been entitled to pay herself some money as part of a Shared Lives Agreement which was equivalent to board and lodgings – but then used the money for herself.
In mitigation, defence counsel Richard Brigden said Toft had not set out to defraud her foster daughter, and that the financial arrangements were complicated.
“This was a confusing financial situation,” Mr Brigden said.
“Chloe was a young woman receiving various benefits from various different places and was expected to pay towards certain things that were not always for her benefit. That just put into the mix of confusion.
“It was not dishonest use of the bank card from the outset, it was a chaotic use and at some point, objectively, that became criminal and not simply incompetent.”
Sentencing Toft, the judge Mr Recorder Mr Lawrence MacDonald told her: “You did not set out to steal her money but there came a point, when you knew full well that you were spending Chloe’s money for the benefit of yourself – for shoes, handbags, payments to Argos, Toys R Us, and B&Q.
“Money was spent on your new partner during the course of that relationship. You paid for meals out, you paid for almost everything in that relationship.
“Chloe’s victim statement was heart rending and detailed a shattered young life that you were supposed to care for.
“It is clear to me that this offending had a profound and long-lasting effect upon her.
“A person who she trusted and treated as a mother and who saw her at her most vulnerable had abused her trust and took her money and compromised her start in life as an independent adult.
“Fraudulent activity by a foster parent taking a foster child’s money is an offence such that an appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.
“Society will not tolerate foster parents stealing the money of children they are supposed to be looking after.”
Toft faces a Proceeds of Crime hearing next year.