Brierfield woman jailed for ‘cowardly’ thefts from elderly

Jailed: Kirsty Ryan (S)
Jailed: Kirsty Ryan (S)
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A Brierfield woman has been sentenced to three years in prison after two burglaries on “elderly and vulnerable” Padiham residents.

Burnley Crown Court heard Kirsty Ryan (29), of Hardy Street, Brierfield, posed as a welfare officer to the first of her victims, a 96-year-old woman living at Fairweather Court, Padiham, on January 25th.

Then the following day, she was discovered by the daughter of an 86-year-old dementia sufferer at a house in Langdale Road, also Padiham, having appeared to have spent the night there.

In her defence, barrister Philip Holden said Ryan had still not been able to come to terms with the bereavement of losing her three-year-old daughter in a hit and run accident in Ormerod Road, Burnley, seven years ago.

Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said Ryan had knocked on the kitchen window of the first property and, when the victim answered, rushed inside after the victim presumed she was a warden of the flats.

There, the court heard, she kept up her pose as a warden and began looking around at the belongings until a milkman arrived to collect money from the victim, and recognised Ryan.

The court heard the milkman told the victim he was not leaving until Ryan had left the premises, and after she left, in the victim’s words “as quick as a shot”, it was discovered Ryan had stolen £30 cash from the woman’s purse and a bottle of perfume from the bathroom.

The following day, on January 26th, Ryan was found asleep on the sofa at the house of the dementia sufferer by the victim’s daughter.

Mrs Statham said the victim “had no idea who the defendant was or why she was there”.

The court heard Ryan had given a false name to the daughter as Debbie Riley, and that she had put some of the victim’s jewellery into carrier bags ready to take away.

Mrs Statham said the second victim’s daughter had identified Ryan in February after she was arrested at her old address in Lawrence Street, Padiham, on January 29th.

The judge, Recorder Andrew Menary QC described Ryan’s crimes as “thoroughly cowardly” adding her methods were “audacious and underhand”. He said the burglaries were targeted and Ryan had shown little remorse.