A WOMAN who twice got jobs at York care homes with fake references has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Victoria Brooke’s fraud was uncovered when she was employed by the second home following her suspension and resignation from the first during an investigation into missing medicines, said Lydia Carroll, prosecuting.

Police had decided to take no action with her regarding the drugs, but her fake references had raised “huge safeguarding issues”, the barrister said. She was a senior care worker at both homes.

“The situation was very dangerous, putting people at risk. The defendant would have been allowed into other people’s homes,” said Ms Carroll. 

Brooke had worked for the NHS during the first Covid lockdown, but had left the service in July 2020,  York Crown Court heard.

"Things had got on top of her," said defence barrister Caroline Abraham.  Brooke had had an alcohol addiction that at its worst meant she was drinking a litre of vodka a day and now had several health problems.  

Brooke, 36, of Linton Street, Holgate, pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud by false representation.

She was made subject to a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months without conditions. She had no previous convictions. 

Judge Simon Hickey said he had suspended the sentence because she was the single parent of a child and other reasons.

Her barrister Caroline Abraham said Brooke now had kidney problems, anxiety and depression and another permanent medical problem.

Her convictions would make it harder to get work in future which was a “punishment in itself”, said the defence barrister. "She is deeply and genuinely remorseful."  

A probation report before the court said that Brooke had carried out the frauds when she was trying to get back to normal life after completing a 12-week alcohol rehabilitation course.

Ms Carroll said Brooke started work at Rawcliffe Manor Care Home in January 2023.

Following her suspension and resignation, the home had been contacted by Amarna House in July 2023 for a job reference but declined because the investigation into the missing medication was then ongoing.

A few weeks later, Rawcliffe Manor learnt that Brooke was now employed at Amarna House and its management contacted Amarna House management.

That led to investigations into her references for both jobs which revealed she had faked them and had invented names and emails as part of the deception.

Brooke was sacked from the second care home in September. In total she had been paid £14,022 by the two homes. Neither had any complaint about her work.

She told police that although she had the qualifications for the jobs, she was very concerned about getting the jobs as she was desperate for money.