A carer who ate meals that were meant for an old woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease has been sacked from her job, it was revealed today.

Patricia Young, 54, greedily ate the hot food - including celery soup, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts - in front of helpless Ivy McCluskey, 70.

The hungry pensioner went without meals and was put to bed at night with her stomach rumbling.

© PANot full yet: Young follows the potatoes by eating Mrs McCluskey's celery soup from a tray in the pensioner's home
© UnknownShocking: Carer Patricia Young, 54, eats mashed potatoes that were supposed to be for Ivy McCluskey

Relatives became alarmed by her loss of weight and installed a hidden camera to monitor Young as she looked after the pensioner at her home in Lisburn, County Antrim.

They looked on in disbelief as they watched a recording of Young eating the food which was supposed to be set in front of their mother.

© PAHungry: Mrs McCluskey, 70, died three months after her carer was caught eating her food
The mother-of-five died three months after Young stopped caring for her.

Mrs McCluskey's daughter Mandy said: 'We cannot comprehend how any human being can do it to another human being.'

Young, from Lisburn, pleaded guilty to ill-treating Mrs McCluskey on a number of separate occasions at her home in October 2009.

She was dismissed from her job and is due back in Lisburn Magistrates' Court next month for sentencing.

Mandy McCluskey said her mother, a former housekeeper, had always been very active and lively and had brought up her children through difficult times with little money.

She added: 'It was one of the illnesses she feared and for her to be treated at the hands of someone like that at the end of all those fears that she had is just really, really scary.'

She said her mother had a good appetite and the family could not understand why she was losing weight. After the episode she never ate properly and was so frail she died not long afterwards.

Relatives first became suspicious when a thickener used in her food was discovered on the carpet.

Ms McCluskey said they were staggered by what they found when they viewed the surveillance camera footage. Young spooned up celery soup and then lifted a fork to devour mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

The shocking images, which were revealed on the website of BBC Radio Ulster's Stephen Nolan Show, horrified scores of listeners.

© PASeconds: Young continues to eat Mrs McCluskey's food, unaware that she is being recorded on CCTV installed by the mother-of-five's worried family
Mandy McCluskey added: 'We felt complete and utter horror and shock, words cannot describe it, at what was revealed.'

She said: 'We all have very mixed emotions about how we feel. It is more hurt and because we have not got mum any more we may get justice but we don't have mummy.

'I knew we were not going to have her forever but what we have left has been destroyed.'

Mrs McCluskey was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of 60.

Her daughter said: 'She was a great eater. It does cause muscle-wasting but that would not cause her weight to fall like that.'

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said it was sorry for what happened.

A spokesman for the Trust said: 'The trust apologises for the unacceptable standard of care provided to Mrs McCluskey.'

The Trust reviewed all clients receiving care from Young and home visits were carried out to find out if there were any other concerns. None of the other clients or carers expressed concerns to the trust about the staff member.

The spokesman added: 'South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust would like to reassure older people receiving care services that most domiciliary care workers are 100 per cent committed to providing a high standard of care as evidenced during the recent severe weather conditions.

'There are stringent policies and procedures in place to protect vulnerable people and that domiciliary care providers are tightly regulated by the Regulation And Quality Improvement Authority.'