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Burglar stole treasured jewellery from 88-year-old woman's bedroom

PUBLISHED: 13:50 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:50 16 August 2019

Richard Duggan, who has been jailed for five years for burglary of an 88-year-old woman's bedroom in a care home. Picture: Norfolk Police

Richard Duggan, who has been jailed for five years for burglary of an 88-year-old woman's bedroom in a care home. Picture: Norfolk Police

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A burglar broke into a care home and stole the treasured jewellery of an 88-year-old resident, who died two months afterwards, a court heard.

Richard Duggan, 36, formerly of Swaffham, had denied the burglary, which happened at a care home in the town on October 21 last year, but was convicted following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.

The jury of six men and six women took about four hours to find Duggan guilty.

Isobel Ascherson, prosecuting, said Duggan had a long history of offending with 40 convictions for 63 offences and in 2014 had a previous conviction for another burglary at a care home in Swaffham.

She said the items of jewellery stolen in the latest burglary included a long list of gold and gem jewellery, which had mainly been given as presents to the victim by her husband and was of sentimental value.

She said: "Clearly this care home was targeted by this defendant."

She said as well the room where jewellery was stolen, there was evidence that other rooms at the care home had also been searched by Duggan.

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Jailing him for five years, Judge David Goodin accepted the burglary had not had any link to the death of the elderly victim but said: "She had the shock of the burglary a couple of months before she died of finding an intruder in her room."

He said the victim had woken up in the night to find Duggan searching her room and at first thought it was a member of staff before realising it was an intruder going through her drawers and taking her jewellery: "She never saw it again and never will."

He said the burglary meant that for the last two months of her life she could no longer see her jewellery:

"She could not look fondly at the jewellery her husband had bought her."

He said that Duggan had targeted a care home in the past and said he probably thought they were an "easy target" for him,

Dominic Bell, for Duggan, said that he was homeless and without a job at the time of the burglary.

He said the burglary had no links to the death two months later of the victim: "There is no suggestion her death was anything to do with his." She was an elderly lady."

He said that Duggan realised he was facing a lengthy term in jail.

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