An ex-nurse whose life had “spiralled out of control” stole a purse and medication from a vulnerable woman in a hotel.

Gemma Fletcher, who had previously worked as a nurse at Royal Bolton Hospital and at Salford Royal, targeted a hotel room in Wigan on Thursday February 22 this year.

Bolton Crown Court heard how a woman fleeing from domestic violence had been staying there.

Prosecutor Craig MacGregor said: “In her statement she said she considered that room her safe place, I’ll put it another way her only safe place.”

Mr MacGregor told the court how Fletcher, 35 of no fixed abode, was spotted by the woman carrying a “shopper type bag” over her shoulder in the hotel communal area.

The Bolton News: The case was heard at Bolton Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

The woman said that she was more concerned about Fletcher’s welfare when she spotted her in the communal area.

But she found that a phone, medication, a purse, £20 and a bank card had been taken from her room.

A man later returned the phone in what the court heard were “suspicious circumstances” by leaving it on a windowsill.

Mr MacGregor said the victim was left feeling “upset and annoyed” and “taken advantage of” by the theft.

Fletcher, who has seven previous convictions for 31 offences, was later taken to hospital for drug treatment where she was arrested and questioned by police.

She gave no comment but pleaded guilty to burglary of a dwelling, in this case, a hotel room, when brought before the magistrates court.

Martin Pizzey, defending, said Fletcher deserved credit for her guilty plea and pointed out that burgling a hotel room was different from targeting a house in the same way.

He said: “Dwelling house burglaries, in the usual sense, are someone’s home, their permanent home, a safe haven.”

Mr Pizzey said that Fletcher was “easily influenced and lacks the ability to say no to negative influences and other offenders.”

He told the court that as a nurse Fletcher had had a “good life” but had become addicted to painkillers after a back injury.

Mr Pizzey said: “She has since spiralled out of control, and she doesn’t recognise the person she has become.”

He added: “She is determined to make good her life and get back to the person she once was.”

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Judge Jon Close accepted that Fletcher had earned credit by pleading guilty but reminded the court of the impact her actions had wrought on her vulnerable victim.

He said: “She was living in that hotel room with all her worldly goods.”

He added: “You left her feeling taken advantage of and in pain, she needed that medication.”

Judge Close jailed Fletcher for a total of 20 months.