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Healthcare assistant swipes dead COVID-19 patient’s bank card to buy herself sweets, police say

Source: West Midlands police

Jun. 14 2021, Published 4:28 p.m. ET

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A healthcare assistant with a sweet tooth in England is accused of swiping a dead patient’s bank card to buy herself some treats from a vending machine.

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On January 24, an 83-year-old woman passed away at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, and her time of death was recorded as 1:56 p.m.

About 17 minutes later, Ayesha Basharat, who was working on the COVID-19 ward, allegedly used the card on a vending machine’s contactless pad to purchase herself a total of 7 British pounds (or about $9.88) worth of potato chips, sweets and carbonated beverages, according to the West Midlands Police.

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Basharat, 23, then returned four days later and tried twice more to get snacks with the card. However, it was already canceled and she instead got a not-so-sweet surprise: arrested.

West Midlands Police said they found the card in the healthcare worker’s possession. She claimed to authorities she discovered it on the floor at the hospital and accidentally used it after it somehow got “muddled” up with her own cards, which were different colors.

“This was an abhorrent breach of trust and distressing for the victim’s family,” investigating officer DC Andrew Snowdon said. “They were having to come to terms with the death of a loved one from Covid when they found the bank card missing – and then of course the realization that the card was taken by someone who should have been caring for her.”

Basharat admitted guilt to theft and fraud by false representation charges and was sentenced June 9 to two five-month jail terms, each suspended for 18 months probation.


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