A carer and welfare lawyer have been jailed for stealing thousands of pounds from an elderly woman and taking sole ownership of her house.

Magdalena Swiercz, 66, from Wembley was employed as a carer for an 80-year-old female who had memory loss and dementia.

In 2006 police were called to the woman's address and found her in a distressed, unkempt and untidy state. Officers took her to a residential home and she was found to be suffering from severe dementia.

Swiercz was entrusted to care for the victim via her links with the Catholic Church. She was paid a wage, with a live in position with no expenses.

But working alongside her cousin, Stefan Kryzewski, 60, a welfare lawyer from Crystal Palace, they stripped the victim of her assets.

The pair isolated the victim from friends and neighbours and took control of her life.

After a protracted investigation police discovered Swiercz and Kryzewski had stolen more than £150,000, sole ownership of the victim's house and obtained a will stating the victim would leave everything she owned to Swiercz.

The victim was suffering from dementia and did not have the ability to protect her interests. 
She died aged 91 in February 2012.

After a five week trial, the defendants were convicted of multiple counts of theft. They were found guilty at Harrow Crown Court on May 24, and were sentenced on Tuesday, July 24.

Swiercz was jailed for four years, and Kryzewski was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Detective Sergeant Cordelia Harvey said: “The defendants were both well educated people, who knew better, but were governed by sheer greed.

“Magdalena Swiercz was put in a position of trust via connection to the church, to help an 80 year old lady, in her last years, who was described as pleasant and formerly independent. 

“Instead she plotted with her cousin to steal all of the victim’s savings and her home, whilst continuing to live off the victim’s pension until 2009, when she had been in a care home for years.

“They treated her with callous disregard and neglect. This neglect led to suspicions about their care of the victim and the discovery of their theft.”