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Loraine Keenan avoids jail after ransacking and stealing from dead pensioner's Bromley home
A WOMAN who ransacked and stole from a dead pensioner's home has escaped prison.
Loraine Keenan, of Thorn Close, Petts Wood admitted to stealing from 71-year-old Lorraine Groom after learning she had died.
The 46-year-old went to the house of her victim, who she had previously helped out with shopping and gardening, within days of finding out she had died.
Keenan then ransacked the house in Parkfield Way, Bromley, stealing an ornamental cat.
Because of problems identifying Ms Groom’s next of kin, her children, who do not live locally, were not informed of their mother’s death for several weeks.
Speaking outside Croydon Crown Court, her son Simon Groom has spoken of his devastation of finding his mother’s house in the condition it was.
The 53-year-old said: “I’ll never forget the way the house was. I wish I’d never gone to see that. With all the damage to the house it would have taken weeks to clear.
“It’s bloody devastation. Why would you want to rob a dead person? It’s sick.”
Keenan was spotted by a neighbour at the house in June 8 but it was not until June 24 when social services forced their way into the house that the burglary was discovered.
Keenan, who has eight previous convictions for dishonesty and drug offences, was arrested on July 15 after the cat was found in her house.
Christopher Stimpson, prosecuting, said: “She fully knew the situation having been informed days before of the death. She targeted a vulnerable person in full knowledge that she had passed away.”
She was given a six month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, and will have to do 100 hours of unpaid work.
Nathan Rasiah, mitigating, told the court she was the lone carer of a challenging son and added she suffered from back problems and is taking anti-depressants.
Speaking after the sentencing Ms Groom’s daughter Sarah Freeland, 43, said: “For her to be burgled was so distressing because she would have given you anything if you needed it.
“She had her moments but she would give you anything to help you out.
“She was an old aged pensioner. Why would you want to hurt someone like that, alive or dead?
“It’s just terrible. It was devastating going back to the house like that when my mum was dead. It’s beyond belief. It’s so hurtful. It’s incomprehensible. I just don’t understand it.”