A MOTHER who set up secret cameras to trap her baby daughter’s thieving nanny has described the horror she felt when she realised she had been betrayed.
Becki Cannings and her husband Bradley turned detective after clothes, jewellery and other possessions went missing from their Exeter home.
The last person they suspected was Pascale Sherwin, the qualified nanny they knew as Sasha, who had looked after Olivia from the age of six months and been taken in as ‘one of the family’.
But Becki, 29, had the shock of her life when her mother suggested she look on Facebook and she saw several photos of Sherwin, 23, brazenly showcasing the stolen items.
And to build up the evidence that helped secure a conviction at Exeter Crown Court this week, they set up five cameras around their home and collated three days of damming footage that caught Sherwin in the act.
Becki said: “Every week random things were going missing. It really started getting to me and I thought I was going mad.
“It did not add up. I started to make a list and realised just how much was going missing.
“I hate myself for it now but I started thinking if anyone I knew would do this. I feel stupid but I never once considered it would be her. She had become part of the family.
“Mum then looked on Sasha’s Facebook account and I felt physically sick. In her profile picture she was wearing all of my clothes and was doing so in several others.
“I was even tagged in them. I don’t know if she was just stupid or rubbing my nose in it.
“I have never felt so violated and my whole world came tumbling down.”
Becki said she printed the photos and phoned the police but was told more evidence was needed and it was then they decided to set up four cameras in the house and one outside.
“I was still hoping it had been a big misunderstanding,” she said. “I didn’t want to do any of it, but it was the only way we could prove anything.
“But viewing the footage was like sitting down to watch a horror movie. We thought we would be fast-forwarding a lot but within five minutes we caught her stealing a cardigan and putting it in her bag.
“On each of the three days she stole from us.
“We allowed her to build a relationship with our daughter and be part of her everyday life. This was the ultimate betrayal.”
Becki and Bradley first met Sherwin when she was working at a creche in November 2011.
She took a shine to Olivia and offered to do babysitting.
After a few casual shifts she started looking after Olivia a couple of times a week in January 2012.
“We had her checked and she was highly regarded and professional trained as a nanny,” said Becki. “She just seemed like a lovely girl and would update us hourly by text of photos of her with Olivia.
“She helped me get ready on the morning of my wedding and was at my daughter’s naming ceremony.
“She became part of the family and it seemed the ideal arrangement. By summer she was working longer, we had upped her pay and she had all the freedom in the world.”
It was around March 2012 when things started to go missing and it was after the couple’s wedding day when jewellery given to her on that day disappeared that she really started to panic.
Sherwin was found with the clothes and a stash of stolen jewellery when police searched her home in Exeter.
Sherwin, now of Marwood Place, Honiton, admitted theft from employers and was ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid community work by Judge Erik Salomonsen at Exeter Crown Court.
The judge said it was a serious offence because it involved a breach of the trust which the couple had vested in her.
Lee Bremridge, defending, asked the judge to give his client credit for her genuine remorse which was reflected in her early guilty plea.
He said she had never been in trouble before and was unlikely to re-offend.
Becki said they had been badly affected by the whole episode but said Tuesday’s sentencing was a way of putting a “full stop” on the ordeal.
She said: “We moved on a long time ago. But we can completely relax now knowing that justice has been served.
“I have so much faith in the police system – they were amazing. But this really affected us badly. Thankfully Olivia was so young she will not remember any of this.
“But I will not leave her with anyone now except for close family. She will be three in August and going off to pre-school this year so that should make things easier.
“I just wish I had not let my guard down – I was just so convinced it was not her.”
Bradley, 40, who owns IJ Cannings electrical engineers in Marsh Barton, said Sherwin has shown no remorse or said sorry for her actions. He said: “It makes my blood boil that she has not even apologised and has been laughing in our face. But she will have to live with a criminal record.”