Parents who stole laptops from the cancer ward where their seriously ill nine-year-old son was being treated – and … – Daily Mail
The parents of a seriously ill boy who stole laptops from the children’s cancer ward where he was being treated – before blaming it on their son – have been jailed.
Unemployed Kim Ager, 34, and Matthew Ingham, 37, stole three laptops and projection equipment from Leeds General Infirmary, West Yorkshire, while son Callum was undergoing chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.
He was diagnosed with a childhood cancer called neuroblastoma in 2013 and had to spend 11 day stints in LGI following treatment.
Unemployed Kim Ager, 34, and Matthew Ingham, 37, stole three laptops and projection equipment from Leeds General Infirmary, West Yorkshire, while son Callum was undergoing chemotherapy
At the time of the theft, ten-year-old son Callum (pictured with his father) was being treated for neuroblastoma, which attacks the central nervous system, on Ward 31 of Leeds Royal Infirmary
The couple stole three laptops and projection equipment before selling them on for a fraction of their value on Facebook.
But when questioned by police over the thefts, Ager and Ingham claimed that it was their son, now 10, had taken the laptops, worth between £200 and £540, and then sold them on.
The court heard the equipment, including projectors worth £874.25 each, went missing from Ward 31 of Leeds General Infirmary, West Yorkshire, between July 1 and July 10.
They were discovered missing by Jo Shepheard, the director of the charity Candlelighters, which had provided the equipment to allow sick children to keep in touch with their families while in hospital.
Heather Gilmour, prosecuting, told the court: ‘The laptops had been attached to the beds with hospital security tags.
‘They can be removed with force but normally need to be cut.’
A report by the probation service read to the court said that Ingham (pictured outside court) had been spending £40 a day on heroin and crack cocaine during the time of the thefts. He was jailed for two years
Ager (pictured outside court at an earlier hearing) originally denied that she had sold the stolen laptops and also tried to pin it on her son, the court heard. Ager, of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, was jailed for nine months
Ms Gilmour said during his trial, earlier this month at Leeds Magistrates’ Court, Ingham claimed he had removed the laptops from their fixtures because Callum wanted to see him test his strength.
Ms Gilmour said: ‘The defendant was to explain that his son had a dare with him to remove them and he did it.’
The laptops were advertised on Ager’s Facebook page and she agreed to sell them to a number of people for around £50-£60, the court heard.
Ager told the buyers that they were ‘ex-office equipment’ and said she could ‘get as many as she liked’.
But when buyers got the laptops home they noticed they were unable to get past a login screen that said: ‘Ward 31′.
A member of staff at the hospital contacted the police after seeing the laptops being sold on Ager’s Facebook , the court heard.
When police showed up to arrest Ingham at his home in Keighley, he told them: ‘I did it. I stole the lot.’
Under interview he admitted stealing the laptops and selling them, but later changed his story, the court heard.
Ingham was found guilty of four counts of theft after trial, while Ager pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods
Ms Gilmour said: ‘He then said his son was stealing them but he was taking the blame because he was taking part in a clinical trial and if that didn’t work he was worried that staff wouldn’t let him back on to the ward.’
Ager originally denied that she had sold the stolen laptops and also tried to pin it on her nine-year-old son, the court heard.
A report by the probation service read to the court said that Ingham had been spending £40 a day on heroin and crack cocaine during the time of the thefts.
The report said Ager had claimed she was ‘terrified’ of Ingham and their 17-year relationship was ‘extremely volatile’.
Julian White, mitigating for Ager, said: ‘She is not seeking to blame Matthew Ingham. She accepts what she did.
‘The catalyst of this offending and the destruction of the family played out last year.
‘Mr Ingham’s drug addiction played a significant impact on the deterioration of the relationship.
‘Her child has been in an out of hospital. His illness is severe, The prognosis is not good.
‘She needs to get back to being a proper mother.’
Glenn Parsons, for Ingham, said: ‘He appears before this court a broken man. He has lost his dignity. He has lost his good name. He is reviled by his community.
‘When Callum was ill Mr Ingham spent 12 hours a day at his bedside at time. He let everything get on top of him.
‘He then started taking drugs and then became addicted. He then tried to pay his debts by stealing. That is despicable.’
Ingham was found guilty of four counts of theft after trial, while Ager pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.
Ingham, of Keighley, was jailed for two years, while Ager, of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, was jailed for nine months.
Judge Sally Cahill branded the pair, who have separated since the thefts, as ‘despicable.’
She said: ‘It is difficult to find a word how despicable this offending was.
‘One of your children, aged nine, has cancer. He was receiving treatment in children cancer wards in Leeds.
‘You, Ingham, took the opportunity to remove equipment that had been put there to make their lives better.
‘The fact that you could take laptops from a children’s ward is despicable.’