The ultimate betrayal: Broken-hearted widow dies after discovering woman she thought was her best friend had been emptying her savings account at £250 a time under cover of walking her dog
· Jacqueline Carolan used Norma McGivern’s bank card to withdraw £1,870 ·
· Carolan, 46, took money each time she offered to take friend’s dog for walk ·
· Pair had been so close that they even went on holiday to Ibiza together ·
· Mrs McGivern, 76, had a heart attack on the day Carolan was arrested ·
· Carolan is jailed for six months after admitting fraud charges
By JAYA NARAIN
For Norma McGivern, her neighbour was a lifeline.
Jacqueline Carolan helped the 76-year-old with her shopping, did small chores around the house and walked the widow’s pet dog, Alfie.
The frail pensioner thought so much of her ‘best friend’ that they even went on holiday together
But Carolan, 46, was no Good Samaritan – she was ‘grooming’ Mrs McGivern in a bid to plunder her life savings, eventually stealing almost £2,000.
Friends: Norma McGivern, 76, (right) was so close to Jacqueline Carolan, 46, (left) that the pair even holidayed to Ibiza together. However, Carolan was withdrawing money from Mrs McGiven’s life savings each time she offered to take the grandmother’s dog for a walk  Scam: Carolan persuaded the grandmother to reveal her PIN number as her elderly neighbour was fearful of using cash machines and withdrew a total of £1,870 from her account
As Carolan began a six-month prison sentence last night, Mrs McGivern’s family condemned the fraudster and blamed her for the death. Her daughter Pam Bryan, 48, said: ‘Jacqueline came across as such a lovely lady but basically she had groomed her.’
Mrs Bryan said the two friends went on several day trips together and even went on a holiday to Ibiza in 2012.
Mrs McGivern trusted her sufficiently that, last year, when Carolan asked to borrow £100 for a holiday, she went with her friend to withdraw the money at an ATM, revealing her pin number in the process.
After this, unemployed Carolan would visit Mrs McGivern on the pretext of taking her shih tzu for a walk but would also take the bank card from her handbag. She withdrew up to £250 on 14 occasions, stealing £1,870 over three months.
The court heard Carolan of Failsworth, near Oldham, used the cash to pay for holidays and manicures.
Mrs McGivern didn’t notice the disappearing funds at first because her bank statements were sent quarterly. When she did, she told her family and they alerted her to the unexplained withdrawals.
She originally dismissed their fears about Carolan before a trap was set that caught her in the act.
On the day Carolan was arrested by police last December, Mrs McGivern suffered a fatal heart attack. The grandmother was said to be absolutely mortified that her friend and confidante had plundered her life savings.
Mrs Bryan said: ‘My mum couldn’t cope with the fact somebody had done that to her.
‘She loved her and thought she was her best friend. I think this contributed to her death. She would still be here today without all this. She would easily have more years in her.’
Carolan, who had no previous convictions, admitted fraud and was jailed for six months. Sentencing her, Judge Lever branded Carolan’s behaviour as ‘despicable’.
Credit to JAYA NARAIN of The Daily Mail UK/International Newspaper 18 February 2014 | UPDATED: 01:48, 19 February 2014