Court, Crime

Nurse escapes prison after credit card theft

Blenheim court house. File photo.

A nurse convicted of stealing two credit cards from patients has been sentenced to six months of home detention.

Marvel Clavecilla, 46, was yesterday sentenced at Blenheim District Court to 180 days home detention, 180 days of curfew and 60 hours of community service.

The judge said it was the maximum sentence he could impose without sending Clavecilla to prison.

Clavecilla stole two credit cards, one from 90-year-old, Doris Follows, after she died on March 29 and the other from an 89-year-old Blenheim woman admitted to Wairau Hospital for three nights in May this year.

He used both cards to buy take away meals, fuel and groceries.

The woman’s son, Mike O’Donnell, had met with Clavecilla at a restorative justice meeting last month on behalf of his mother.

“I’ve been hugely impressed by the courage and graciousness shown by my mum throughout this terrible ordeal.”

He was in court yesterday to see the former Wairau Hospital nurse sentenced.

“It was a dreadful situation and a huge violation of trust. What Marvel did accelerated mum going into full time care, but I think it’s a just decision and one which will be enabling for her to move forward.”

In a letter to the court, the woman said she believed Clavecilla was genuinely sorry for what he had done.

She did not want to see his family suffer because of his actions she wrote.

“I’ve been here [in the rest home] two weeks now, and my move here was strongly influenced by the stress and fear that your offending had on my life.

“I was devastated to learn what happened to me at hospital – to get home and read the credit card statement was unbelievable.  I’d always felt safe here in Blenheim where I live.  Your actions changed that.

“I was rushed into X-ray after midnight urgently, at that time I spoke to my nurse and said I want to take my handbag with me please, she said to me not to worry … She was wrong.

“I am a very caring person  and have helped many people in my  years  gone by  … especially here in Blenheim over the last 18 years where I have worked with members of the Vanuatu community to help and support them.

For that reason I  hope Marvell you will think about the wrong you have done to me , with my health deteriorating since …and make a change to his life going forward  for his family and the future of them all.

“You are very fortunate Marvell to live in New Zealand where your sons will have wonderful opportunities to get a wonderful education and make their way in this world, like my own son has done.

“Take that opportunity with both hands and cherish it greatly.”

Marvel had resigned from his job at Wairau Hospital rather than face the sack after being charged with 32 counts of credit card theft.

The victim’s son, who praised both his mum and the other victim’s family for their courage throughout the case, says Marvel had been contrite and upset over his actions.

“The judge was really good, really thorough and went through similar cases for legal precedent. We are grateful for the time he spent on it.

“His starting point was a custodial sentence but because he [Marvel] pleaded guilty and showed remorse he was given home detention.

“He and his family have been ostracised on social media and his father, who holds a judicial role in the Philippines, had faced ostracising too.

“We do not want Marvel’s two sons to grow up taking the same path as their dad and that could be the case had he received a custodial sentence.”

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