Thief escapes sentence after targeting the elderly and sick

Gloria Tunstall had her rings recovered by the police that were stolen from her home. Her engagement ring is still missing.
Gloria Tunstall had her rings recovered by the police that were stolen from her home. Her engagement ring is still missing. Alistair Brightman

AN ELDERLY woman has been left unable to trust people in her own home after her cleaner stole five sentimental rings, including her engagement ring.

Gloria Tunstall, 85, is one of four elderly or ill women, who had their jewellery stolen by Teena Maree Ansell while she was cleaning their homes in the Maryborough region.

Ansell, 51, escaped jail time despite pleading guilty in Maryborough Magistrates Court to taking thousands of dollars of jewellery from four people's homes.

The court heard Ansell was caught after her son sold a significant amount of jewellery to a pawn brokers, including a ring which had been reported as stolen.

Mrs Tunstall has made an impassioned plea to see the return of her engagement ring, given to her by her husband 67 years ago - the only piece of jewellery not retrieved after the crimes.

The Maryborough woman had been in hospital for 11 weeks when she received a call from her cleaning service after Ansell was discovered to have taken jewellery from another woman's home.

It was then she found the five rings missing.

The ordeal has left a mark on Mrs Tunstall.

"I feel terrible when people come into my home," she said.

Antigua woman Barbara Wilde, who is suffering terminal gall and liver cancer, also has trouble trusting people after Ansell stole a priceless ring from her home.

The ring, which was taken two days before her 40th wedding anniversary, was moulded from two rings from her mother and grandmother and given to her by her husband, an air force veteran, for their 30th anniversary.

She said she trusts the two women who currently help her but still ensures her purse and valuables are placed away when they come into her home.

"Now the worst thing is people don't trust (cleaners) in their home," she said.

Mrs Wilde was left stung by the theft.

"I may be ill but I'm not an idiot," she said.

The two other victims of Ansell's crimes were in their 80s and also the wives of returned servicemen.

Magistrate Dean Wilkinson on Tuesday sentenced Ansell to six months prison to be suspended for 18 months.

"The offence has been committed while you were in a position of trust provided to care for people who are vulnerable," he said.

Ansell has also resigned from her position at SunCare.

SunCare CEO Russell Mason said as soon as the organisation learnt of the crimes Ansell was stood down and all her clients contacted.

"We have been in operation now for nearly 45 years and this is the first time we have had any employee in this position," he said.

Mr Mason said SunCare has also conducted a review of their procedures for hiring staff.

Topics:  maryborough magistrate's court

Are you missing a watch? Police might have it

Is this your watch? If so, the police have it and want you to pick it up.

The hunt is on for the owner of a silver watch.

Three people transported to hosptial after car crash

Coffs Harbour police station sign NSW.  26 April  2016.

A car drove into an electricity pole in Hervey Bay.

Local Partners

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Salma Hayek: 'Trump planted story because I turned him down'

Actor Salma Hayek is the latest woman who says U.S presidential nominee Donald Trump acted inappropriately.

Salma Hayek latest woman to accuse Trump of misconduct

Brisbane snake catcher shows who's the Boss

Brisbane snake catcher Julia Baker returns in season two of Snake Boss.

Hit show Snake Boss is back for another season

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track