'If they had dialled 999 there is a chance my mum could have been saved' says daughter after duo who stole from her mother as she lay dying in bed in her Brierfield home are sent to prison

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The daughter of the woman, who lay dying in her bed while burglars took her phone and purse, has said today she cried on hearing the news that the culprits had been jailed.

Defendants Kelly Cassidy and Steven Morris were sent to prison for a combined total of six years and nine months when they appeared at Burnley Crown Court yesterday.

They had earlier pleaded guilty to burglary at the home of Ronald and Dorothy Crowther's in Walter Street, Brierfield, on October 16th last year.

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Ronald and Dorothy's only daughter, Janet Crowther Hindley, has praised detectives for their diligence in investigating the case that left the entire community shocked.

Janet Crowther Hindley with her mum Dorothy Crowther.Janet Crowther Hindley with her mum Dorothy Crowther.
Janet Crowther Hindley with her mum Dorothy Crowther.

Janet said: "When I received the call from the CID detective who dealt with the case to let me know the verdict I have to say I cried.

"I cried because the police who dealt with us have been truly amazing and we plan to keep in touch with them as we have built up such a lovely relationship.

"I can't thank DS Phil McGauley and his team enough. I know it's their job and they get paid, but the time they spent to investigate and sort so many things out for me and my family proves they are an amazing team."

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Burnley Crown Court heard yesterday that at around 3am on the night the crime took place Ronald went into the street to seek help for his wife who was seriously ill in their home.

Ronald and Dorothy were a devoted and popular couple who were married for 65 years.Ronald and Dorothy were a devoted and popular couple who were married for 65 years.
Ronald and Dorothy were a devoted and popular couple who were married for 65 years.

Having tried neighbours, Ronald was followed back into his home by defendants Cassidy and Morris, on the premise that they would telephone for an ambulance.

While Ronald went upstairs to sit with his wife, who died later that day, Cassidy and Morris, both heroin addicts, pretended to call for an ambulance but instead they callously stole a purse and a mobile phone from within the property.

Following inquiries and an appeal to the public, and CCTV images of the incident shared on social media over 2,000 times, detectives arrested Cassidy and Morris two days later at an address in Nelson.

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They were later charged with burglary and pleaded guilty to that offence when they appeared before a judge at Burnley Crown Court earlier this year.

Morris (45) of Southfield Street, Nelson, was sentenced to four years and three months custody, while Cassidy (42) also of Southfield Street, Nelson, was jailed for two and a half years.

Janet added: "It's sad they didn't dial 999 as, with all the time wasted, there is a chance my mum could have been saved.

"I would like to ask them how they would feel if it was the other way round and this happened to their parents.

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"It goes to show what drug addiction can do to someone and how greed takes over and they saw an opportunity for themselves rather than helping my dad.

"The situation was upsetting enough without them doing this to our family."

Speaking after the sentencing DS McGauley, of East CID, said: “This was a shocking and despicable crime committed against elderly victims at a time when they were at their most vulnerable and in need of urgent help.

"Rather than provide that help, Morris and Cassidy took it upon themselves to commit this callous burglary for their own selfish gains.

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"I have been investigating burglaries for many years and cannot comprehend how someone can be so cruel to commit an offence like this.

“My thoughts remain with the victim of this offence and his family who have acted with great bravery and dignity throughout this investigation.

“I am also very grateful to all those who shared their CCTV with us and those who had the fortitude to come forward with information in relation to this offence and the identities of those who committed this callous crime."

After Dorothy's death her family raised over £1,000 for charity in her name. They chose the British Heart Foundation as there is a history of heart disease in the family.

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Among the generous donaters were Burnley and Pendle taxi firm Delta, whose drivers held a whip round and collected £300. And the money will be Dorothy's lasting legacy as it will stay in East Lancashire and be used to buy vital equipment.

Well wishers came forward with donations after the being touched by the tragic and shocking circumstances surrounding Dorothy's death.

Married for 65 years the popular and well respected husband and wife were once voted 'The best couple in Brierfield.'

Two months later, while coming to terms with the death of his wife, Ronald spent two weeks in the Royal Blackburn Hospital after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

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He was rushed to hospital after collapsing at his daughter's home in Padiham where family had been taking care of him.

The family were not able to say their final farewell to Dorothy until December and dozens of people stood in the street to pay their respects to her as the cortege made its way through Brierfield town centre.

The devoted and well known couple had lived in the same home, that belonged to Dorothy's parents, all their married life.

Grandparents to Sarah and Ben they also have three great grandchildren, Grace (12) eight-year-old Olivia who are Ben's daughters and Sarah's little boy Harrison who is four.

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After he was blinded in a works accident in the 1970s former dinner lady Dorothy had devoted her life to taking care of Ronald.

Janet, who lives with her husband, Steve, has thanked everyone who has supported the family through the past few months, including friends, neighbours, Delta Taxis, who took mourners to Dorothy's funeral free of charge, Burnley CID and Luke Berry and his colleagues at Helliwells Funeral Service who she said went 'above and beyond' to look after them.

Janet added: "I also want to thank the public once again for their help during the investigation and also for the many messages of support and kindness we have received over the last few months."