Mum jailed for fleecing £12,000 from elderly neighbours

JAILED: Rachel Ryan (34) (S)
JAILED: Rachel Ryan (34) (S)
  • Elderly couple had shared home for 40 years
  • Defendant pregnant with fourth child
  • Couple forced to live in separate nursing homes
  • Neighbour stole cash and bank card

A heartless mother-of-three who twice raided the home of her neighbours aged 95 and 86, and fleeced them of about £12,500 savings - more than £11,000 of it blown with a stolen bank card - is behind bars for 52 months.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Rachel Ryan (34) had deliberately targeted victims William Green and his partner Alice Nutter for their vulnerability. She had befriended the couple when she moved into the house next door to the home they had shared for 40 years in Railway Street, Foulridge.

Alice Nutter and William Green have been given by you a life sentence

Judge Simon Newell

Ryan, said to be then a drug addict with a “chaotic lifestyle” used an accomplice to distract Mr Green (95) and take him away from the house with a bogus claim a thief was attacking his garage.

She then sneaked into the pensioners’ property, pushed past Miss Nutter and helped herself to £70 housekeeping money she knew would be in the kitchen.

On another occasion she took £1,300 cash Mr Green had been saving for Miss Nutter (86) as a surprise, after tricking the couple by asking to wash her hair upstairs. They have never seen a penny of it since.

Miss Nutter, whose bank card was used by Ryan in 45 transactions at a Cash Generators store, is believed to have got her £11,179 the defendant spent back through the bank, but had to endure three months of worry that she had lost the money.

The hearing was told that the victims, devastated and frightened after Ryan’s cruel betrayal, had to leave their house, where they were happy and settled together, after their ordeal and are now living in separate nursing homes in Colne.

The defendant, currently pregnant with her fourth child, wept in the dock as a judge told her she had destroyed the victims’ lives.

Judge Simon Newell told her: “Alice Nutter and William Green have been given by you a life sentence.”

Ryan, of Robinson Street, Foulridge, admitted two counts of burglary, last July 20 and September 12 and one count of fraud.

Prosecutor Kimberley Obrusik told the court towards the end of 2013 the defendant befriended Miss Nutter and attended her property regularly. She at first lived next door, then moved three doors away and continued to visit. The defendant had 15 offences on her record, going back to when she was younger.

Imran Khan (defending), said: “There is genuine remorse for her actions. She has realised what she has done, she has put her hands up and she is very sorry. She would personally like to apologise to the victims in this case.”

The barrister said at the time of the offences, the defendant had relapsed into drugs after eight years free of them.

Passing sentence Judge Newell told Ryan the sentence had to deter others and express the “disgust and revulsion” of ordinary people at what she had done.