AN 87-year-old has told how she was left in constant tears and sad after a woman, who she believed was a friend, stole £190 from her.

The victim, who lives in a warden-controlled flat at St Mary's Gate in Burnley, was befriended by new mum Rachel Quigley, 31, who would visit her regularly.


But Quigley, a former drug addict, stole cash from her purse after distracting the vulnerable pensioner, Burnley magistrates heard.

The victim, in an impact statement, told police: "It makes me feel sad that there are people in this world who would do this to me."

Quigley, who has a record for 'drug-fuelled offending', was spared jail 'to get her act together'.

The court heard she had a baby five months before, in January, and was said to have turned her life around.

Burnley magistrates heard how Quigley stole the money in early June, when the defendant called on the victim alone when it was raining and she asked to put her coat upstairs.

She then left and when the victim went into her bathroom, she found her purse on the floor and £190 she had withdrawn earlier missing. She called the police.

Quigley, who sobbed in court as the victim's distress over what happened was read to the hearing, admitted theft from a home and being in breach of two conditional discharges.

The defendant, of Cairo Street, Burnley, was sentenced to a 12-week jail term, suspended for a year, with a community order and the Lancashire Women's Specified Activity Requirement.

The Bench, who told the defendant what she had done was very serious, said they had almost sent her to jail, but added: "We are giving you an opportunity to get your act together." Quigley was ordered to pay £190 compensation.

Andrew Robinson, prosecuting, said the pensioner had met Quigley and her partner in T K Maxx in Burniey and she thought they were a nice couple.

The woman had lent Quigley and her partner cash in the past.

The victim was very upset by the theft and in an impact statement, told how she used to enjoy going shopping, but since the offence she was tired and just wanted to sleep and watch TV.

She said she used to smile a lot and make jokes, but now looks sad all the time.

Mark Williams, for Quigley, said she thought her friendship with the victim was genuine and she would help her with her shopping. The solicitor continued :" She doesn't accept she took £190, but she does accept she's pleaded guilty."

The defendant had turned her life around significantly. Mr Williams added: "This is not going to be repeated."

Speaking after hearing about the case, Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “This is absolutely shocking – the court should have thrown the kitchen sink at her.

“Befriending an old lady and then doing something like this is despicable and I just hope that this elderly lady hasn’t lost her faith in humanity.

"But things like this don’t help.”