A CARER jailed for stealing almost £100,000 from a vulnerable elderly woman has been ordered to pay back just £5.

Durham Crown Court was told Susan Hopkinson, 51, has no assets, despite draining a fortune from her victim over the last three years of her life.

She was a trusted respite carer with access to the 94-year-old’s bank account and took money at regular intervals, leaving just £3,000 in savings.

The Crown Prosecution Service made a Proceeds of Crime Application, known as a POCA, at the court on Monday morning.

Chris Wood, prosecuting, said: “The benefit figure is £99,168.97, and an available figure of £5 being sought. “It comes after the conviction of a theft matter where the defendant sought the trust of an elderly woman over an extended period of time and extracted money.”

Hopkinson, of Conyers Place, Newton Aycliffe, appeared at the hearing by videolink from HMP Low Newton where she is being held. Andrew Finlay, who represented her, said: “There is no issue over the figure defined. “She is in custody and due to her incarceration, she has no assets.”

Hopkinson, who was of previous good character, was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment when she appeared at the court in November last year.

She admitted a single charge of theft between January 1, 2013, and January 9, 2016. The court was told that Hopkinson made her final withdrawal five days after the woman’s death.

It was only after the funeral that her family, who live outside the region, realised that their aunt’s account had been plundered when they came to sort out her affairs.

The victim had been in Sandringham Care Home in Bishop Auckland, and also Defoe Court Care Home, in Newton Aycliffe but needed more respite care, which is how Hopkinson became more involved.

In a statement read to the court in November, her nephew said: “Me and my sister were the sole beneficiaries, but that money will not be replaced.”