Ex-Barclays supervisor accused of taking £90,000 from OAP

A bank clerk allegedly abused her senior role at Barclays to plunder £90,000 from an 86-year-old woman’s savings, Southwark Crown Court has heard.

Tom Nicholson, prosecuting, claimed that Sarah Adams, 31, wiped out nearly half of Kathleen Lewis’s bank balance with nine separate withdrawals in July and August 2010.

He alleged she stole £10,000 each time, making three withdrawals the first time she raided the account, and a further six a month later.

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Mr Nicholson said Ms Adams, former counter supervisor for the Barclays branch in Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon, hoped Ms Lewis would not notice the money had gone.

The pensioner had inherited £195,000 following the death of her sister but only received statements on her savings account every six months.

In a bid to cover her tracks, Ms Adams stopped statements being sent out and Ms Lewis only noticed the theft a year later on a visit to the branch.

Mr Nicholson said: “Ms Lewis was a target for those unscrupulous enough to look at some elderly, with a high credit balance of £195,000.

“She was perhaps not someone likely to check her balance on the internet. She was someone, we suggest, who was easier to get away with stealing money from unobserved.”

The court heard that Ms Adams, who started working at the branch in November 2004, was promoted in March 2007 to a £20,000 a year supervisor.

Mr Nicholson said all nine transfers out of Ms Lewis’s account were done using Ms Adams’s log-in and password. Investigators for Barclays found that some of the alleged thefts were carried out using a computer in a back office, away from customers, while others were done using Ms Adams’s work computer.

He said the raid on Ms Lewis’s account was only revealed on 15 June 2011 she asked for a statement, adding: “This was almost a successful attempt to steal money from Ms Lewis. She received a shock when she was told the account was credited with £105,000, when she knew there should have been £195,000; the legacy she had been left.”

The bank conducted an internal investigation into the withdrawals and found they had all been carried out using Ms Adams’s details. The court heard she left the bank’s employment in August 2011.

Ms Adams, of Catford, southeast London, denies one count of theft between 1 July and 8 August 2010.

The trial continues.